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Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by mrmartin, 16 Sep 2017.
There's always going to be a cut-off...
Funnily enough, someone has written in to Moneysavingexpert that the two day delay means he cannot buy it. It will supposedly affect 3,000 people. She has a point, it said "by the end of December".
Update... my App now shows the new expiry date.
3,000 people sounds about right for a day's delay given the size of the UK population.
I would however suggest that the actual number who would be wanting to buy one is probably quite a bit lower than that and that there's likely to be quite a few of those who would still be able to benefit (sometimes to a lesser extent, although sometimes more so as, as I understand it, the discounts are only for the individules whist other Railcards allow others to travel with the holder with discounted tickets) from other Railcards.
So, they've duly gone on sale at midday today, with an hour's wait in some queuing system before being able to even start filling out the form (which, uh, seems somewhat ridiculous nowadays—certainly most of my clients would laugh in my face if I suggested such a thing). Hopefully it doesn't take too long to issue the railcard, given I bought tickets for the 7th on the assumption I'd have it by then!
Even once it goes below an hour's wait, it's a very slow, overly optimistic estimate. The estimate has gone down by a minute every 4-5 minutes, and sometimes even gone back up again!
Yeah loads of complaints on twitter about the wait. Some people queueing for many hours at this point now... pretty crazy.
Got through it in the end. "Less than a minute to go" was actually about 5 minutes! Even once I got through, it kicked me back in to the queue again for a few seconds before redirecting back.
After getting the download code, it was a rather quick and painless process to add it in to the app. Now to add it on a second backup phone!
Interestingly, it notes that the railcard is valid with 16-25 railcard tickets too as not all ticket machines have been updated.
As a matter of interest, what was the queue time for you King J?
I could have walked to the booking office, filled out a form, gone to the post office and back for a photograph, had the railcard issued and had dinner by now.
I think I entered the queue around 11:30, left the browser tab open but also requested the email notification, got an email saying i'm almost at the front at 16:30 and completed my order at 16:40.
My partner will grab one tonight so it'll be interesting to see what the queue times are like then...
Is it available as a paper one? I thought it was online only.
It is online/digital only, and had there been an option to get a paper one I get the feeling the queues at ticket offices would have been rather lengthy too.
No it's not. That was rather my point.
Ah, no human verification of the photo or anything, so it's instantly issued?
Talking of the 26-30 railcard being valid with a 16-25 ticket, I was wondering of the following.
The website states that the railcard is not valid with, Caledonian Sleeper tickets for travel in Sleeper or Seated accommodation with a route Caledonian Sleeper only.
What if one turns up with a 16-25 ticket and a 26-30 railcard with such a ticket?
Interested to hear your thoughts.
Instantly issued. When I uploaded the photo, it did warn that I would need to upload a photo that a revenue inspector would recognise as a true likeness of me (or words to that effect, I can't recall exactly now!) and gave the standard examples of good/bad pictures (i.e. well framed, no eye coverings, just you etc).
I'd love to know the answer to this! Although possible in the literal wording (i.e. the 26-30 is valid for 16-25 tickets), I don't think it's possible in the spirit of the wording (i.e. as it's only valid on 16-25 tickets because some ticket machines can't yet issue tickets for the 26-30 railcard)
And the results are in!
Entered the queue at 17:16, and reached the front of the line at 21:01. Like for me, the timing estimate was quite far out - and indeed at one point it was quickly decreasing down to 40 minutes, and then went up again steadily to "more than an hour"!
The exact word they use in relation to ensuring your photo is valid (beyond the standard size/framing etc requirements) is;
Wonder what this might mean for a National Railcard given the popularity. As for the Caledonian sleeper, I think there is a large ambiguity if it is not valid but the railcard is valid on 16-25 tickets...
Did better than me; 15:33 to 20:30!
Also, why on earth is this an app? There's literally no reason for it to be an app, especially one that is bad enough to get really pretty poor ratings in all the app stores… AFAICT, it just shows a static rendering of the railcard; it could as well be a webpage with some minimal work done to make it work offline.
A PKPASS card would do the job well on iOS.
The problem with this 26-30 railcard does appear to be that some people are going to use it to make their commuting cheaper which is almost certainly not what is intended.
I have colleagues in my office who will choose not to buy a season ticket and use their 26-30 railcard for commuting. Frankly the £12 minimum fare is too low - something like £15 minimum fare all day on weekdays might be more appropriate - a bit like the Network Railcard which is well overdue a minimum fare increase.
Perhaps they will study the use of the railcard an apply a higher minimum fare if they think it is leading to reduced revenue.
Now that the minimum fare is set, it will be very difficult politically to increase it massively, but may be possible over a large number of years.
One thing I don't quite understand with all the people reporting huge delays today, are you guys all desperately needing to get your hands on one today? Would it not be better to wait a couple of days and for things to quieten down a bit before buying one?
I think my colleagues were hoping to start using it immediately to save money on their commuting. If the demand is to reduce the cost of a daily journey you can see it being high.
I would suggest that widespread use of this to reduce commuting costs for 26-30 year olds would set back any thoughts of there one day being a National Railcard available to all. It was commuting use of the Network Railcard (obviously only in the evening) that led to its minimum fare in the early 2000s.
I was expecting there to be a delay in the issuing (photo verification or whatever—they do say they'll contact you within 24 hours if it's not appropriate!), and I have a ticket booked for Monday on the assumption I'll have a railcard.
If you start a job fresh out of uni aged 21/22 (ish), or even a few years later depending on your course and have an option to have a cheaper rail ticket price until you're 30, which stops you from driving to work. By the time you're 30 you are going to be used to using the train, your household is unlikely to have multiple cars and for any occasional trips which do need a car you'll hire a car/use a car club car/use the one car in your household. Once that pattern in set you are likely to carry on using the train.
Likewise if you only have up to one household car then you'll do a fair amount of travel, outside of commuting, by rail. If you've not got a season ticket that means every journey costs you more (rather than any extension to your normal route choosing you more).
As such overall I'm not convinced that they'll be that much loss to the network because people are getting a bit of a better deal (bearing in mind that to get any discount they have to paying more than £12 and to get the full discount more than £18) but leading to more people using trains as well as being more likely to carry on using trains once they are too old.
Let's take as an example Woking to London, any time ticket is about £22.30, so discounted is £14.87, or £74.35 a week or about £300 a month depending on number of days worked.
A weekly season ticket is £83.70 (+£9.35) whist monthly is £321.50 (about £23 more depending on days worked). However as soon as you go into London at the weekend three or four times a month then the season ticket is likely to be better value.
In the above example the account of revenue lost is about 10%, however if for every 10 people who use it 1 of those is someone who otherwise wouldn't be using the train then it's not a big deal.
It's not at all like the Network Railcard, which could do with the minimum fare binning off. The Network Railcard is simply not valid before 1000 at all and as such is no use for commuting whatsoever. It does in some cases make it a bit cheaper for a peak day trip to do Anytime Single one way and Anytime Single discounted the other way, but even that isn't universally true and the savings are small so hardly anyone probably thinks to do it.
It possibly did make sense where you could do Anytime Single one way and discounted *Off Peak* Single the other way, but most London area TOCs now have evening peak restrictions so that has gone as an option.
Why? Just bar all use before 1000 Monday-Friday as per the Network Railcard, which makes it completely useless for commuting and long-haul business day trips and makes it purely a leisure product.
The 16-25 probably doesn't need this because relatively few 16-25s are commuting long distances for work (in excess of the minimum fare) or doing expenses paid business trips on a frequent basis. However, I'm amazed that the 26-30 didn't get this restriction. There barely seems any sense in having a separate Railcard rather than extending the 16-25 to 16-30 otherwise.
 Or 0930 as this aligns with off peak restrictions in a good chunk of the non-London country.
Firstly, the 16-25 (at one time it was 16-23) has no restriction in July and August for a very good reason - to allow people on holiday from college or university to have discounted travel during the summer months when they are not commuting to college or university. This clearly doesn't apply 26-30.
Network Railcard is 1000 for a good reason too. It spreads demand from the first off-peak train (say, 0930) to later ones.
The Network Railcard minimum fare would be £17 by now if it had kept pace with inflation, let alone train fares.
Fair point, though the increasing Off Peak-Super Off Peak split does that now anyway.
It was still an insanely stupid idea, done I believe to placate the normally angelic Chiltern Railways who were going to pull out of it otherwise.
Fair question. I have a need to use the railcard on Friday and was not sure what time I would finish work today, so thought it prudent to have a day in hand in case anything went wrong with the process.
Ended up waiting approximately 14:30 to 20:00.