Update (10am 13th March 2018): The millennial railcard, which costs £30 and offers 26 to 30-year-olds up to a third off rail travel, launched this morning and its website has crashed due to high demand. Just 10,000 cards went on sale on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning there are only enough for one in 500 millennials, the BBC reported. "Limited Trial," the website reads. "Due to high demand access to buy is limited. Please bear with us." Fingers crossed for a national rollout ASAP.
Original story (21st November 2017): Finally, some good news for cash-strapped young people. Discounted rail travel is going to be extended to those up to 30 years old from spring next year, thanks to a so-called millennial railcard which could potentially save those who qualify hundreds of pounds a year.
The card for 26-30 year-olds will be rolled our nationally following the success of a trial in East Anglia, the BBC reported. Like the existing 16-25 railcard, it will cost £30 and offer up to a third off rail travel although the discount won't be available on peak-time journeys and the cost of rail travel continues to rise.
Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce the plan in tomorrow's budget, with the government estimating that the card will make 4.5 million more people eligible for cut-price train tickets.
Jacqueline Starr from the Rail Delivery Group, the trade body for train companies and Network Rail, welcomed the news, saying it would benefit both young people and the wider rail industry. "A key commitment in our long-term plan to change and improve is to boost communities by enabling more people to travel by train and that's why we developed this proposal," she said.
While the announcement is undoubtedly a good PR move for the Tory government, not known for prioritising young people's interests (to put it mildly), the Labour shadow cabinet took pains to put the news in context. It welcomed the move to extend discounted travel to more young people, but said it would do nothing to fix our "broken" rail system.
"Any move that reduces the cost of travel is welcome but the Tories are tinkering around the edges of a broken system," said Andy McDonald, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary. "Our railway should be run by and for passengers, not private shareholders and foreign governments."
Nevertheless, news of the railcard went down pretty well among some under 30s on social media.
Some people did take a broader view, however, suggesting that cheaper rail travel is merely a sweetener that will do little to solve the cost of living crisis among young people and won't help the eldest millennials at all.