Despite the fact that I’m 28, because I’m a full-time student I am still eligible for a young person’s 16-25 Railcard here in the UK (despite the name of the card suggesting otherwise). Yay! However, with the card costing £30, and some restrictions on when you can use it, I thought I’d review it for those other cash-strapped young people/students who’re thinking of purchasing one.
How much does it cost?
Ordinarily a 16-25 railcard will cost you £30. However, there are some ways that you can get it cheaper or even free! For example, when I opened my Santander student bank account, they gave me my 16-25 railcard free as a bonus of opening the account! However, even if you’re unable to open a Santander account or the deal is no longer on with them at your time of reading this, if you have an NUS extra card you can get (at the time of writing) £10 off a 1 year young persons railcard instead. It’s not as good as a free 3 year railcard like I got with Santander, but it’s still £10 off what you’d otherwise have spent!
How much will you save and when can you use it?
You’ll save 1/3 off all rail fares costing more than £12. However, if your fare costs less than £12, you can still get 1/3 off, but only if you’re travelling after 10am. Basically, if you’re travelling during the morning rush hour and the original fare is less than £12, you can’t use your railcard! Full terms and conditions though can be found at https://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/help/railcard-terms-conditions/.
Who’s Eligible to Use it?
Anyone aged 16 – 25 or over 25 but in full-time education. Additionally, it’s really important to remember that it’s only eligible on tickets purchased before boarding the train – so make sure you don’t forget! That and you must of course have your railcard with you on board the train too to show along with your ticket or you’ll be charged the full fare.
Is it value for money?
I use my railcard regularly on Scotland’s central belt and on average it saves me around £3 – £4 per journey. I’ve already more than made up the £30 fee I would have paid if I’d have purchased the card instead of receiving it free in exchange for opening my student bank account. However, getting it free was an added bonus! Where the card is of real benefit though is travelling long distance in the UK. I’ll save £20 total off a £60 return trip to London in February. That’s almost as much as the cost of the card itself, so all you’d have to do is make a few trips like that and you’ve more than got your moneys worth! I’d therefore say that if you’re planning a few long-distance trips and/or you’re a regular train user like me, then it’s definitely worth the money.