Discount Railcards

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Discount Railcards

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93% positive

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Review of "Discount Railcards"

published 21/08/2002 | stoffy
Member since : 24/08/2001
Reviews : 95
Members who trust : 22
About me :
Pro saves money, easy to use
Cons limitations on when they can apply
very helpful
Frequency of trains
Reliability of trains
Speed of trains
Safety of trains
How extensive is their Rail Network?

"Holy Rail"

Public transport has always been a bit of a nemisis of mine. Whether it's due to being too tall to properly sit in bus seats or having an aversion to airline food I don't know, but travelling by plane, bus or tram always seems to throw up unpleasantness...

The rail system in this country is a joke. That is not in dispute. However, even if there are delayed trains, graffiti on the seats and attendants who insist on shoving their trolleys into your knees, at least people between the ages of 16 and 25 (and also mature, full-time students) can be rest assured that they are saving a little bit of money with a Young Persons Railcard.

The current price for the card is £18, and this entitles you to 12 months discounted travel along the British Rail Network. However, watch out for special offers - I managed to get 18 months for 12 when I bought my first Card 8 months ago. Also keep an eye out for special offers from banks, as they often give a YPR as a welcoming gift if you open an account with them.

So, what does the Card actually get you? The short answer is up to a third of the cover price of rail tickets, but beware as restrictions apply. The main one of these is that travel before 10am on a weekday (excluding July and August) is subject to a minimum charge, meaning that the discount could be considerably less. There are also no discounts for people travelling on Eurostar. However, the Card does allow you to receive discounts on transfers that you may need to take across the London Underground system.

Apart from that, discounts are valid across most journeys that you can take, whether it's single or return, to Inverness or Penzance. It does represent excellent value for money, even if the prices are far too high to start off with. However, if you're travelling from, say, Manchester to London, it costs £32.85 with a Railcard compared to £49.80 for everyone else - a saving of almost £17. This is practically the price of the railcard itself! This means that even if you make just a couple of trips on rail over a year, you are saving money!

You can apply for a railcard by either filling in an application form (available at rail stations, travel shops and online, at or by calling your local rail network, whose numbers are also available on the aforementioned web-site. If you phone, you will be given a 'permit to travel', which you must redeem at a train station within one month of receipt. Surprisingly, there is currently no option to actually buy a card online, which strikes me as being surprising considering you can purchase over the phone.

Also needed is a passport photograph (if you're a student, you'll have hundreds of these anyway...) and a proof of age document, such as a passport, driving licence or birth certificate. Mature student will need to provide an ISIC card or a signed proof from their tutor to demonstrate their eligibility.

You are then given the card on the spot, and you can start claiming cheaper train travel - hurrah! The Card comes complete with an expiry date, so be careful to renew it before it runs out. Also remember to take it with you whenever you're travelling on trains. It may sound obvious, but I've known people who have booked tickets in advance using the card, only to forget it on the day and get caught out when they're actually travelling. You will be required to pay the full fare if you don't remember to take it with you...

Once you've bought your card, one important thing to do is to make a note of your unique customer number. This will entitle you to a replacement if you lose your card or it is stolen.

In all, I think that it does represent good value for money, even if you are only a casual user on the rail network. For students in particular, it comes in extremely handy for all those trips home at the end of termtime...

Although travelling on the rail network remains expensive, even with a card, it is still much more convenient for me (living in a city close to many train stations) than other forms of public transport such as coaches, and the YPR is a big incentive to use it more frequently. Now if only they could sort out the sense of direction in their trolley dollies...

(NB please ignore the ratings below - they don't apply, but I can't publish this without selecting them...)

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Comments on this review

  • KarenUK published 13/09/2002
    Sh*t! I'm too old to be young :-(
  • monstermuncher published 21/08/2002
    Sounds like a winner if you're travelling at the right times. May investigate one of these!
  • MRSCANADA published 21/08/2002
    I didn't know you could buy these in the UK. I always thought a Brit Rail pass had to be purchased out side of the UK. Nice to learn something new. ~Lyla~
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Product Information : Discount Railcards

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Listed on Ciao since: 18/05/2002

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