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New 16-17 'railcard' launches to save 1.2m young people £186 a year on travel

Mirror logo Mirror 13/08/2019 Emma Munbodh
The Saver Card will be valid across England and Wales as well as on services into Scotland © PA The Saver Card will be valid across England and Wales as well as on services into Scotland

More than a million young people will benefit from a new railcard that will support school leavers entering employment - and those enrolling at colleges from September.

The new Saver Card will give 16-and-17-year-olds access to half price National Rail travel, including on peak and season tickets, enabling them to travel at a reduced rate for two years.

It'll apply to anyone starting or returning to sixth-form or college, beginning an apprenticeship or entering the world of work from Monday 2 September, and each card will cost £30 for a year.

A sample of the new card that will go on sale on Monday 2 September © Provided by Reach Publishing Services Limited A sample of the new card that will go on sale on Monday 2 September

The Department for Transport, which made the announcement, said the new card could save young people an average of £186 a year, alongside boosting education opportunities for young people and recruiters.

However while the card will be valid for those up until their 18th birthday, any students turning 18 during their second year will no longer qualify, effectively pushing them out of the benefit.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “The brand-new Saver means that a generation of rail passengers can now benefit from cheaper fares, keeping money in their pocket and helping them get to school, college and work.

Gallery: How public commute looks like around the world (Photo Services)

“Through the Saver, the 26-30 Railcard, and a record £48 billion investment in the railways, we are focused on providing passengers with the frequent, reliable and affordable journeys they deserve.”

The launch comes as figures from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) show that over 327,000 people are now saving on their journeys through the 26-30 Railcard, equivalent to an average saving of £19 a month.

How to access the 16-17 Saver Card

a close up of a piece of paper: All 16-and 17-year-olds that are about to enter the world of work will be eligible © PA All 16-and 17-year-olds that are about to enter the world of work will be eligible

The new card will be available to buy online from 2 September, and will cost applicants £30 each.

Once active, the card-holder will be eligible for a 50% discount on rail travel, including peak and season tickets.

Robert Nisbet, Director, Nations & Regions at Rail Delivery Group said: "There are 1.2m people aged 16 or 17 years in Great Britain – working together, we want to ensure they can access affordable rail travel with the new 16-17 Saver." 

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said: “This rail discount for 16 and 17-year olds is a huge step in the right direction and will help to alleviate the financial pressures facing young people and their families across the country.

“Many from disadvantaged backgrounds find themselves making difficult choices about their future based on how much their journey to college will cost, increasing the pressures of staying in education.

Gallery: How a subway ride looks in these 32 cities (Photo Services) 

“Travel costs should never be a barrier to education, today’s announcement will give a much needed helping hand to thousands who rely on rail travel to access education and training.”

David Sidebottom, director at the independent watchdog Transport Focus, added: "The arrival of a railcard for 16-17 year olds is welcome news for young passengers who consistently tell Transport Focus through its research they resent being charged adult fares after turning 16 when they must remain in education until their 18 birthday. 

“The new railcard will take some edge off the cost of commuting to school and college. It’s good that the 50% discount that this offers will apply to peak period and season tickets, but it would be better if this card also covered the entire sixth form period. As it stands students turning 18 early in their second year of studies will lose this valuable discount.

“Likewise, with regulated fares set to go up again next January, it’s absolutely critical the rail industry delivers a more reliable day-to-day service.”

Explore the issues faced by the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people this summer and discover what you can do to help.

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