Students can now purchase digital versions of the 16-25 railcard, news which is timely, as many will have travelled back home last week via trains following ‘reading week’.
The digital cards can be bought online at the same price as the existing paper of plastic cards, downloaded to the railcard smartphone app and used immediately.
Jyoti Bird, Director at National Rail, said: “National Rail and the train companies are making it quicker and easier for passengers to save 1/3 on fares, thanks to the launch of the digital 16-25 and Network Railcards. Railcards enable customers to explore more of Great Britain for fun, in an ultra-convenient and cost-effective way.”
“The introduction of digital Railcards is the latest example of train companies working together using technology to make rail travel easier. The money customers save through travel, and additional Railcard benefits, means the more they have to spend in the places they go, allowing customers to enjoy more of the things they love, whilst also supporting local businesses and communities.”
Matt Wynne, a Social Sciences student at the University of Manchester, expressed concern over the “risk of smartphones cutting out over long journeys.”
Rail companies have said that “if a phone runs out of battery or gets lost, the card can be swapped to another mobile device.”
Despite this, Matt Wynne said” “I’d wish they concentrated their efforts [on] bringing the Network Railcard to the rest of the country if I’m quite honest with you.
“I’m having to get the same amount of proof for a 16-25 Railcard as a Mature Student as I do for Council Tax Exemption and other benefits — far too bureaucratic, especially as it costs £30 and Mature Students usually have a lot of commitments aside university.”
Both 16-25 Railcard and Network Railcards can be purchased digitally, and it has been estimated that over four million existing Railcard customers save around £150 on average each year on train trips thanks to the cards, equating to almost £600 million a year in total.