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Railcards: How can young people save on train fares in 2019?

young woman on train Image copyright Getty Images

Two new railcards in 2019 should mean cheaper fares for millions of young people in Britain.

The long-awaited 26-to-30 railcard - known as the Millennial Railcard - goes on sale at midday on Wednesday.

It offers a third off most leisure fares.

And a new 16-to-17 railcard, to be launched in the summer, will offer 50% off all fares. The idea is to help students travelling to school or college.

The categories below are valid for the whole of Britain. Fares and discounts in Northern Ireland are set locally.

For 16-to-17-year-olds

Currently, this age group is covered by the 16-to-25 railcard - see below - but from September, they will also be eligible for a new, more generous discount.

The 16-to-17 railcard will entitle holders to a 50% discount on season tickets, peak, off-peak and advance fares.

The idea is to help students travelling to college.

It is not yet known how much users will have to pay for the card, but it is expected to be around £30. The government says it will announce more details in the summer.

In many parts of the country, local authorities already subsidise fares for this age group, so it is not clear whether the new card will offer larger savings.

The 16-to-25-year-old Young Person's card

The existing card offers one-third off many fares, including off-peak and anytime tickets, for anyone in the age group or in full-time education.

However, there is a minimum fare of £12 for journeys that start before 10:00 on weekdays - but not in July or August, when students are on holiday.

It costs £30 a year or £70 for three years. The government says the average annual saving for such cardholders is £192 a year.

The card is available either as a physical document, or in an app on a phone.

Image copyright RDG
Image caption The 26-to-30 cards will be available in digital form only

The 26-to-30 Millennial cards

For a £30 fee, the new railcard will offer similar benefits to the Young person's 16-to-25 railcard.

Journeys starting before 10:00 will carry a minimum fare of £12.

But unlike the card for younger passengers, that minimum fare will also apply on weekdays throughout July and August.

There will be no fare reductions on season tickets or Eurostar services.

The government calculates that the average passenger in this age group can save £125 a year by having a railcard.

This is a digital-only card, so it needs to be stored on a mobile phone. The app can be downloaded from 26-30railcard.co.uk.

Full details of all the railcards available can be found here.

Under-16s

Children under the age of five travel free. Those between the ages of six and 15 are eligible for child fares. The discount is typically 50%.

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