'Shambles' as millennial railcard site crashes
12 March 2018, 21:16
The launch of the new "millennial railcard" has been described as a "shambles" after the website for purchases crashed.
The card, which gives discounted rail travel to passengers aged 26 to 30, was announced by Philip Hammond in his Budget speech in November.
Although 4.5 million people could benefit, just 10,000 railcards are being offered on a first come, first served basis - meaning only about one in 500 people in this age range will have one.
Demand for the railcard has been high since it went on sale on Tuesday morning, with the official website crashing under the strain.
A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, said: "This morning, when the 26-30 railcard trial began, the National Railcard website was receiving 12 times the normal number of visitors. We were prepared for demand to be similar to that of previous trial launches.
"Due to the unprecedented demand we have been working with our suppliers throughout the morning to further increase the capacity on the website to create a better experience for our customers. We recommend that customers continue trying the National Railcard website, and keep an eye on @_Railcards Twitter and Facebook pages for updates."
Many passengers have expressed their frustration on social media at being unable to buy the cards.
Emily Thomas, from London, wrote: "Getting a 26-30 railcard is worse than getting a Glastonbury ticket. Sort out your website to make it fair!"
In a message to the National Railcards Twitter account at 7.48am, youth worker Josh Booth, from Leeds, posted: "Been trying to get 26-30 railcard since 7am, your website crashing and been on hold on the phone since then."
Tom Drury, from London, wrote: "The launch of the new railcard is a shambles."
The limited number of railcards are being made available as part of a trial which is designed to assess the take-up of cards and the impact they have on revenue and passenger numbers.
Valid for one year and costing £30, the railcards are digital only and stored in an app on the user's phone.
The card is aimed at leisure travel, and will not be applicable to season tickets. There will be a £12 minimum on tickets between 4.30am and 10am, excluding weekends and public holidays.
The first trial of the scheme was on Greater Anglia services.
An RDG spokesman said: "The trial of the 26-30 Railcard is part of the rail industry's long-term plan to change, improve and boost communities by enabling more people to travel by train.
"Research being gathered as part of the 26-30 Railcard trial is being used to inform discussions with the Government about a national roll-out, and to develop new products that make leisure travel easier and better value for customers."
Currently, people aged 16-25 can buy a railcard to get a third off their fares, as well as couples in a Two Together scheme, or families in a group card.
The majority of people would not be able to get additional discounts between the age of 25 and 60, when a senior railcard kicks in.
(c) Sky News 2018: 'Shambles' as millennial railcard site crashes