A new ‘millennial’ railcard that could save 26-30 year olds hundreds of pounds a year is expected to be announced in tomorrow’s budget. The move is sure to provide those living in Brighton with much needed financial respite and allow locals to travel on the rail network with more freedom.
The railcard scheme operate in a similar way to the current 16-25 young people’s railcard scheme which involves a yearly payment of £30 in exchange for a 33% discount on rail travel. Although the age limit increase could benefit about 4.5 million people, it will still not be possible to get a discount on season tickets – with costs often running into many thousands of pounds a year.
The move is sure to provide 26-30 year olds who rely on the rail network with a much needed increase in disposable income as the cost of living steadily marches upwards while real wages remain stagnant.
Those who currently benefit from the young people’s rail discount, those in the 16-25 age bracket, will see their eligibility for railcard schemes prolonged.
Many Brighton locals use the rail network to commute into work, and will see significant savings from the scheme, so long as they aren’t season ticket holders.
Those who use the network less frequently will no doubt be pleased with the savings on trips into and out of London, making travelling into the capital for gigs or events that little bit more affordable.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to say that since more young people will travel by rail because of the discount, their fares will cover the cost of the scheme.
But the move comes just weeks before overall train ticket prices are set to go up.
The Rail Delivery Group is expected to announce next month that fares will rise by 3.6% from January – in line with government policy that ties increases to the Retail Price Index.
Stephen Joseph, head of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Having a wider young person’s railcard would be welcome. But we need much more reform of the fare system than that – in particular this year when inflation is high.
“We’ve been arguing we need a complete freeze on rail fares in the general January fares rise and also more reform such as season tickets for part-time workers.”
Meanwhile, Labour have described the budget announcement as a ‘Conservative Party ploy’ to tempt the swathes of younger voters, who largely turned out for Jeremy Corbyn at the last election, over to the Tories.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “It really is a sad indictment and condemnation of a government that hasn’t served that generation.
“At the age of 26 to 30, you’d like to think that people are at their full power and able to get on with their lives – but they don’t because they have an inability to get on the housing ladder, they’re saddled with student debt, wages have stagnated and they’re still going to be subjected to the highest rail fares in all of Europe.”
The new railcard is expected to launch in spring 2018.