RDG trial/Budget announcement: 26-30 Railcard from Spring 2018

takno

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So maybe they should have put a queuing system infront of the site then?
Presumably without throwing in a bunch of new and untested tech at the server level, this would involve shoving everything behind a defensive CDN to enforce queueing. Once you've got it in place it's a great way to make sure your static pages are always accessible under any kind of volume, but it isn't particularly cheap. The actual numbers of people who will have been hitting the servers probably wouldn't have been a challenge to serve simple static pages to anyway.

The problem is further down the line when you hit the transactional pages - the SSL cert adds cost and complexity to the CDN setup if you still choose to run the traffic through the CDN. You also can't cache much transactional stuff at the edges so there isn't a whole lot of benefit for your expenditure in day-to-day use. In most environments I wouldn't even try getting approval to get that live on a site which doesn't often have massive peaks.

What you're left with is a static site under protection, but with thresholds for the protection to kick in designed to protect the static site. That means the whole transactional site can be in pieces but the CDN still has no idea it needs to do anything. While you could have protected the static site and made people queue up to even get a link to the transactional site, if you didn't get that live straight away then the ship has sailed - everyone will just be hitting refresh direct on the transactional site (or have 5 tabs open hitting auto-refresh), and all your work was for nothing.

And about the media and taking it "as a sign of product popularity", you are right. And that makes me sad. An organisation messing up like they did should NOT be seen in a good light. Hell even music ticketing sites have sorted their game out now. If you are going to insist on a roll out plan that will lead to high demand, then at least make sure you have planned for it!
Sadly the music industry doing it hasn't really helped anybody much apart from touts, who are now able to clear the whole allocation in about 5 minutes instead of an hour as previously. It would be outrageous to suggest that Ticketmaster did that deliberately just so they could double-dip with the Stubhub commission as well, but I wouldn't be surprised if some shameless cynics out there made that connection.
 
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dvalts

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Allocating them by random ballot would have seemed a simpler and fairer solution in hindsight, if it's genuinely intended as a trial before wider release.
 

WelshBluebird

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Presumably without throwing in a bunch of new and untested tech at the server level, this would involve shoving everything behind a defensive CDN to enforce queueing. Once you've got it in place it's a great way to make sure your static pages are always accessible under any kind of volume, but it isn't particularly cheap. The actual numbers of people who will have been hitting the servers probably wouldn't have been a challenge to serve simple static pages to anyway.

The problem is further down the line when you hit the transactional pages - the SSL cert adds cost and complexity to the CDN setup if you still choose to run the traffic through the CDN. You also can't cache much transactional stuff at the edges so there isn't a whole lot of benefit for your expenditure in day-to-day use. In most environments I wouldn't even try getting approval to get that live on a site which doesn't often have massive peaks.

What you're left with is a static site under protection, but with thresholds for the protection to kick in designed to protect the static site. That means the whole transactional site can be in pieces but the CDN still has no idea it needs to do anything. While you could have protected the static site and made people queue up to even get a link to the transactional site, if you didn't get that live straight away then the ship has sailed - everyone will just be hitting refresh direct on the transactional site (or have 5 tabs open hitting auto-refresh), and all your work was for nothing.

I'll freely admit I have not had to implement anything along this lines, the high traffic sites I do work on are either expected to always have high traffic and so are built with that in mind, or only have high traffic for a small period of time every now and again and so we can deal with that with edge caching static pages.
The static site itself was obviously fine as it stayed up all day. The fact the transactional site didn't is the issue. Actually, more the issue is they clearly didn't have a plan for it not staying up. As I said at the VERY least you have a message to say sorry there is too much demand try again later, so people don't see a horrendous 503 error.

In terms of queuing, unless I am totally misunderstanding what services like Queue It do, I don't see why it needs to be that complicated. Stick the transactional site behind the queuing system so you only allow x number of people onto the domain at any one time. No need to worry about caching and the like too much there (although obviously that would help, and would increase what number x has to be).

Sadly the music industry doing it hasn't really helped anybody much apart from touts, who are now able to clear the whole allocation in about 5 minutes instead of an hour as previously. It would be outrageous to suggest that Ticketmaster did that deliberately just so they could double-dip with the Stubhub commission as well, but I wouldn't be surprised if some shameless cynics out there made that connection.
Oh don't get me started. In terms of all of that I agree with you - but all of that is a totally different problem (the fact the primary sellers are also allowed to be secondary ones really needs to be looked at!). However as I mentioned to Bletchleyite, in terms of the specific issue of queuing, the music industry does seem to have sorted it. I can't remember the last time I saw a site like ticket master or see tickets actually fail to load now - they stick you in a queue. Sports events do the same thing. You just wait your place and the queuing system redirects you (or gives you a link) to where you need to go to actually load the transactional site.

Allocating them by random ballot would have seemed a simpler and fairer solution in hindsight, if it's genuinely intended as a trial before wider release.
I can't disagree with that! Or as Bletchleyite suggested, do a time limit instead of a number limit. Or hell, maybe actually be sensible and just open it up properly!
 

ainsworth74

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Good luck with the digital railcards and the codes - for the first three weeks of my digital 16-25 railcard it showed as expired and didn't have a photo, thus rendering it unusable. Let's hope these problems don't extend to the 26-30 one either
Mine is working perfectly so far!
 

_toommm_

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Mine is working perfectly so far!
Just tried to add it to my new phone and that was a shambles too - it kept saying 'oops something went wrong' or 'the code is invalid or expired' whenever i tried to add the railcard (I deleted the other device off my list of added devices so I didn't hit the limit). Even RDG/Railcard folk I spoke to didn't have a clue.
 

CptCharlee

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I was trying to get one if these but wasn't able to which sucks. How long til the next batch is released?

The whole digital only concerns me. What if my phone dies?
 

Clip

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I was trying to get one if these but wasn't able to which sucks. How long til the next batch is released?

The whole digital only concerns me. What if my phone dies?
This has been done to death in many threads now - its your responsibility to ensure it doesn't.

Just the same as its your responsibility to ensure you have your card railcards with you and you don't lose it
 

323235

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Which is the reason I'm always anti-app tickets and railcards normally and previously always checked for my railcard before I buy a ticket or board a train.

I normally charge my phone at every opportunity these days and need a new powerbar.

I have given in to buying a 26-30 railcard so I can save a fortune on fares and do a lot more leisure travel than since my 16-25 railcard expired (I've done very little in the last year)
 

222001

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I have given in to buying a 26-30 railcard so I can save a fortune on fares and do a lot more leisure travel than since my 16-25 railcard expired (I've done very little in the last year)
It's the same for me. I found the usage of my car increased massively, as the 1/3 extra made train travel more expensive than fueling my car. If I wished to do a rover of some sort, I found myself driving to parkway stations, rather than travelling to the area via rail as I'd have done previously.
 

FenMan

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It's the same for me. I found the usage of my car increased massively, as the 1/3 extra made train travel more expensive than fueling my car. If I wished to do a rover of some sort, I found myself driving to parkway stations, rather than travelling to the area via rail as I'd have done previously.
A pedant writes ....

The price cliff for someone who is no longer eligible for a railcard is 50%, not 33%.

Fare with railcard: £10
Fare without railcard: £15
A 50% increase.
 

yorksrob

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Someone on another thread mentioned that one cannot purchase this railcard without a driving licence or passport, both of which represent a not inconsiderable expense in themselves. If it is the case that age cannot be proved with a birth certificate, it is simply unacceptable.
 

aformeruser

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Someone on another thread mentioned that one cannot purchase this railcard without a driving licence or passport, both of which represent a not inconsiderable expense in themselves. If it is the case that age cannot be proved with a birth certificate, it is simply unacceptable.
I seem to recall when I first applied for a Young Persons Railcard (as it was then called) it was acceptable to produce a birth certificate, a passport sized photo and a completed form. I don't think they even required a 'suitable person' to verify that the photo was of the person named on the birth certificate.
 

Clip

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Birth certificates are far easier to forge than drivers license or passports - i wouldve thought this obvious and a possible reason for them not to be accepted anymore
 

aformeruser

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A pedant writes ....

The price cliff for someone who is no longer eligible for a railcard is 50%, not 33%.

Fare with railcard: £10
Fare without railcard: £15
A 50% increase.
Although, if they needed to catch a 09:40 train on Wednesday and again on Saturday they would pay £23 for the two journeys instead of £30.
 

island

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Someone on another thread mentioned that one cannot purchase this railcard without a driving licence or passport, both of which represent a not inconsiderable expense in themselves. If it is the case that age cannot be proved with a birth certificate, it is simply unacceptable.
You need to enter a passport or driving licence number that verify you’re within the permitted age range in order to purchase a 16-25, 26-30, or Senior Railcard online. A 16-25 Railcard or Senior Railcard can also be purchased with other ID such as a birth certificate at a staffed station.
 

yorksrob

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You need to enter a passport or driving licence number that verify you’re within the permitted age range in order to purchase a 16-25, 26-30, or Senior Railcard online. A 16-25 Railcard or Senior Railcard can also be purchased with other ID such as a birth certificate at a staffed station.
Quite. So the issue with this railcard is that it can only be purchased online .
 

Chester1

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Someone on another thread mentioned that one cannot purchase this railcard without a driving licence or passport, both of which represent a not inconsiderable expense in themselves. If it is the case that age cannot be proved with a birth certificate, it is simply unacceptable.
How many 26-30 year old don't have a driving licence or passport?! They are needed for ID in many situations, most notably to buy alcohol (admittedly not as often as when 18-25)! I have repeatedly renewed my provisional licence after moving homes despite not planning to try to learn again simply to have a photo ID that can fit in my wallet, that is also proof of address and that is less valuable than a passport. Its free to renew as well.
 

yorksrob

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How many 26-30 year old don't have a driving licence or passport?! They are needed for ID in many situations, most notably to buy alcohol (admittedly not as often as when 18-25)! I have repeatedly renewed my provisional licence after moving homes despite not planning to try to learn again simply to have a photo ID that can fit in my wallet, that is also proof of address and that is less valuable than a passport. Its free to renew as well.
It's still a cost outlay, which will present a barrier to some people being able to take up this offer.
 

paddington

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How many 26-30 year old don't have a driving licence or passport?! They are needed for ID in many situations, most notably to buy alcohol (admittedly not as often as when 18-25)! I have repeatedly renewed my provisional licence after moving homes despite not planning to try to learn again simply to have a photo ID that can fit in my wallet, that is also proof of address and that is less valuable than a passport. Its free to renew as well.
This is effectively the same argument as "how many 26-30 year olds don't use their phone for everything so why bother making physical railcards".

So you wanted ID in order to buy alcohol, but plenty of people don't drink (including people between 18-30). Until the government requires that everyone in the UK be able to present ID on demand, private companies should cater to people who don't have a passport or DL.
 

Chester1

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It's still a cost outlay, which will present a barrier to some people being able to take up this offer.
This is effectively the same argument as "how many 26-30 year olds don't use their phone for everything so why bother making physical railcards".

So you wanted ID in order to buy alcohol, but plenty of people don't drink (including people between 18-30). Until the government requires that everyone in the UK be able to present ID on demand, private companies should cater to people who don't have a passport or DL.
Its not just drinking. I struggle to think of how you can prove your identity in a variety of situations if you don't have a provisional / full driving licence or a passport. Birth certificates etc could be anyones so photo ID is often required. I would be surprised if there is a single person aged 26-30 who will see this post who doesn't have one or both. Its a similar argument to the smart phone but a small number of 26-30 don't have a smart phone, rather than a tiny number that don't have a driving licence or passport.
 

ainsworth74

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One thing I would remind is that this was phase two of the trial and only 10,000 (20,000 in total so far) have been made available. I'm not sure I'm willing to condemn them for making their admin as easy as possible for a trial. Now, when (if) we get to a full scale roll out there are still issues around it being online only and therefore the only way to verify age being via costly items such as driving licenses or passports then I think there will be grounds for complaint and concern.

In the meantime however...
 

Be3G

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Its not just drinking. I struggle to think of how you can prove your identity in a variety of situations if you don't have a provisional / full driving licence or a passport. Birth certificates etc could be anyones so photo ID is often required. I would be surprised if there is a single person aged 26-30 who will see this post who doesn't have one or both.
Hello. :)

Well I do currently have a passport, but it expires this month and due to the infrequency of my international excursions am strongly considering not renewing it for now, just waiting until the time comes that I may wish to travel abroad again. The only time I find that I need a passport (i.e. when no other form of ID that I have will suffice) is, amusingly, collecting someone else's John Lewis parcels from a Waitrose store.

(I don't drive, and for what it's worth I don't drink alcohol, as bizarre as it seems mentioning that in a ticketing thread on a railway forum!)
 

Hadders

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I’d renew before 27th March. Prices increase after this date by £3 for applications submitted online or £12.50 for those submitted on paper.

You can renew upto 9 months in advance without losing any validity and if you apply online you can submit a photo taken on a phone (as long as it is compliant).
 

Be3G

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Well yes, but the whole point is that I probably won't need one for a year or two – so the couple of year's saving will easily come to more than £3. Still, I appreciate the thought.
 

Hadders

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I use my passport more often for proving who I am rather than travelling.

For example:
Opening a new bank account
Starting a new job
Renting a house
Mortgage application

All require you to prove who you are. There are other ways of doing it but a passport is the most straightforward.
 

MikeWh

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Just a thought. Does a passport being used as photo ID have to be in date? If the photo matches the person holding it then surely it's job has been done?
 

takno

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Just a thought. Does a passport being used as photo ID have to be in date? If the photo matches the person holding it then surely it's job has been done?
You might get away with an out of date passport as a proof of age, but they aren't generally acceptable as proof of ID. There's been a lot of changes over time in any case - both of my previous 2 passports have become objects of some suspicion towards the end of their life simply because most passports didn't look like that anymore. I had a similar problem with a fairly old driving license at a gig at one point as well.
 

Hadders

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Digressing slightly but I still have an old fashioned paper driving license. It's always quite satisfying on the odd occasion I have to show it. No good as photo ID though!
 

Bletchleyite

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Its not just drinking. I struggle to think of how you can prove your identity in a variety of situations if you don't have a provisional / full driving licence or a passport. Birth certificates etc could be anyones so photo ID is often required. I would be surprised if there is a single person aged 26-30 who will see this post who doesn't have one or both. Its a similar argument to the smart phone but a small number of 26-30 don't have a smart phone, rather than a tiny number that don't have a driving licence or passport.
It's a very wide problem. It can be a massive issue with something like DBS checks as well.

While I'm unsure about ID *cards* (though an easy way to do that would be just to issue non-driving driving licences at cost via the existing channels, which is how many US states do it, as passports are inconvenient and expensive and not everyone is eligible to drive) I do feel the National Identity Register may have to make a reappearance in some form to solve this issue for online things. It could perhaps be some kind of extension of the gov.uk accounts, and perhaps obtainable either by way of a passport, driving licence or by the processes involved in obtaining on of those.
 

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