What About a Frequent Traveller Railcard?

2015-02-05 14.29.52Despite there being no trains in my area (( have just under a 60 mile drive to Tiverton Parkway to catch one, or Exeter, though parking is harder there and I remain further from my ‘up-country’ destination), I travel by rail at least once or twice a month, often to see elderly parents. My eyesight is poor; driving distances is not a great experience, as anyone who has ever been driven by me will agree.
It works out very expensively, on the whole, because, while I have a family and friends railcard, I do not always have my children with me, and thus use it rarely. In the SW we barely have a train service, and discounted fares are absolutely not on the cards, a form of rural inequality, I always think.
I could travel Birmingham to London for £7.50.  A return (or single) from Birmingham to Tiverton comes in at a hefty £89 (rounding down).
I feel slightly discriminated against as a frequent traveller, as I get no discounts on these highly expensive fares because I am not:
16-24
Over 60
Disabled
Two together
Though I do use off-peak services, as I could never afford the peak ones.
I can understand that disabled and  even that older and younger people (or is that age discrimination? How does 55 differ from 60, especially as the state retirement age has risen?) should get discounted fares, but two together?  How does that work?
Why is a couple more important than a lone traveller? 
And is this not discriminatory against single people/lone travellers?
So, what about simply having a railcard for frequent travellers?  That then rewards people for loyalty and sustainability (using rail instead of car, where possible) helping to support the railway infrastructure and reduce lone car travel.
Well, I asked the Railcard Team, and this is what they said:

I’m sorry that you don’t see a Railcard that meets your needs. 


Each of these Railcards was developed with the aim of encouraging people who might have the flexibility (for example younger cardholders, who may be students with more free time, or retired Senior cardholders) to travel on off peak services; another aim was to encourage more leisure journeys at times when trains tend to be less busy than at peak and commuting times.

You can find more information on each of these Railcards, including how to apply, at www.railcard.co.uk

There is also the Network Railcard, which offers similar discounts as the Family & Friends Railcard but does not require a child to be travelling with the cardholder. This only offers a discount in the London and South East network area. You can find out more information on the Network Railcard at www.network-railcard.co.uk.

Although Train Companies keep the situation under review, a new Railcard will only be introduced if it is likely to generate increased ticket sales. If none of the above are suitable, I would suggest booking tickets as far in advance as possible; this will allow you to take advantage of early discounts.

 

Well, for anyone else who doesn’t fit a category (no, I don’t live in the south east either), I’d at least suggest split ticketing. It is a pain in the backside (but perfectly legal) in terms of moving seats and ending up with about 20 tickets per journey, but it really does save a lot of money because, ordinarily, train companies do not tell people the cheapest way to travel.

In terms of Railcards, I have suggested my feedback is fed back further up the chain…or perhaps just abolish them altogether and have cheaper off-peak fares, period!

 

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