Under 25 - proof of age

Gloster

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The following query is in one way irrelevant as I have lost contact with the people concerned. I think I had all the relevant details accurately at the time and can remember them correctly, even if some seem a bit odd.

About five or six years ago (possibly a bit more) a friend’s step-daughter, then in her last term at university, was travelling from Preston to London on Virgin West Coast. She was using a 16-25 Railcard and there was no question about it being false, nor was there any problem with the validity of the ticket she held. However, the guard (and it does appear to have been a guard) was not satisfied that she was entitled to it.

I will make clear here that she looked older than she was at the time, approaching or just past her 23rd birthday, as she had been very seriously ill in her late teens, effectively missed two years school and had been unable to start university until she was 20. If someone told you she was fifty, you would believe them, although you might think,”I would have thought she was a bit younger than that.”

The guard wanted proof that she was under 25 (or - presumably - that she was a mature student), but she could find nothing that seemed to fit the bill except a letter. However, this letter was from a well-known hospital and detailed her medical condition: she was on her way to a job interview and it was intended to assure the prospective employer that the illness was cured and would not affect her ability to work. She was prepared to show the heading which gave her name and date of birth, but she was not willing to show the text of the letter. (I understand that there was nothing of a serious nature in it, but you can understand a young woman not wanting her medical history to be seen by someone who doesn’t need to) The guard apparently claimed that he needed to read the letter to check that it was genuine. At this point, so I understand, another passenger, who claimed to be a lawyer, told the guard that any court would consider the heading of the letter sufficient proof. The guard then moved on.

My feeling is that the guard was acting totally unreasonably to insist on reading the letter.

I will another have another - very different - query from the same family soon.
 
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Bletchleyite

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There is no requirement to carry any such proof (such proof should be requested, if it is needed, at the time of purchasing the Railcard - indeed, that is the only point at which it is relevant - a valid Railcard can be used until its expiry regardless of if the holder turns 26 or ceases to be a student in that period). Therefore the guard was bang out of order.
 
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Please can I add something to this? When you apply for a 16-25 railcard do you require proof of age? I'm wanting to get one but I am 24 (so on the cusp of the aforementioned and a 26-30). I don't own a valid passport or driving license. Will a birth certificate suffice?

Mods, feel free to move this but I felt it was relevant.
 

mikeg

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It is indeed not reasonable of the guard to act like this. If she had the railcard, proof will have been checked. Carrying proof of age is not required by the terms and conditions as having the railcard is in and of itself sufficient for a railcard discounted fare to be valid.
 

kieron

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Please can I add something to this? When you apply for a 16-25 railcard do you require proof of age? I'm wanting to get one but I am 24 (so on the cusp of the aforementioned and a 26-30). I don't own a valid passport or driving license. Will a birth certificate suffice?

Mods, feel free to move this but I felt it was relevant.
A birth certificate would be valid if you applied at a station according to the railcard web site.

For completeness, you'd need a passport or driving licence to apply online, and a "national identity card" would be another option at a station, for anyone who has one.
 

GRALISTAIR

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Like the UK, the driver's/driving licence is the de-facto ID. Some states even issue "non-driving driving licences".
Correct - driver’s licenses are all and since getting one and learning to drive from about age 15 is a right of passage in the USA they are close to universal. Restrictions are being imposed such that certain state driver’s licenses are no longer being accepted to board a plane.
 

Bletchleyite

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Correct - driver’s licenses are all and since getting one and learning to drive from about age 15 is a right of passage in the USA they are close to universal. Restrictions are being imposed such that certain state driver’s licenses are no longer being accepted to board a plane.
Interestingly, the law doesn't require any form of official ID to board a domestic flight in the UK, though airlines mostly impose their own requirements for reasons of revenue protection. Security checkpoints in the UK do not check ID as a matter of course, only that a boarding card is held (and that's just to stop security being clogged up by people seeing people off, as used to be common in the US).
 

hkstudent

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Indeed, but it is an issue for those unfortunate people who cannot afford the cost of an ID card when a free national ID is not available.
 

Typhoon

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Please can I add something to this? When you apply for a 16-25 railcard do you require proof of age? I'm wanting to get one but I am 24 (so on the cusp of the aforementioned and a 26-30). I don't own a valid passport or driving license. Will a birth certificate suffice?
A birth certificate would be valid if you applied at a station according to the railcard web site.
I have had no problems with using a birth certificate for a senior rail card. The big disadvantage is that you can only get a one year card! I gather there might be ways of getting a three year card once you have had a one year card and was going to try it this year but a certain pandemic has restricted my travel plans. (In the past I have only purchased the card when I needed it so 'one year' was never a problem.)
For completeness, you'd need a passport or driving licence to apply online, and a "national identity card" would be another option at a station, for anyone who has one.
I have a national identity card somewhere, although whether it is valid I don't know. It was issued to me seventy years ago, I might just try it!
 

Haywain

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I gather there might be ways of getting a three year card once you have had a one year card
3 year senior railcards are available online only and do not require a one year railcard to have been held first. Stations can only issue railcards with a one year validity.
 

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