Millennial railcard site crashes after demand stampede
The first day of sales of the new 26–30 millennials’ railcard caught National Rail napping – its sales website was so overwhelmed by demand it came crashing down.
Today was the first day the cards, which had been trialled in the Greater Anglia region, went on sale for travelers in England, Scotland and Wales.
The £30 cards allow savings of around a third on most tickets, except at those for peak morning travel when the discount is limited to minimum fares of £12.
The discount for some during the morning commute is limited as a minimum fare of £12 applies to all journeys made before 10am, Monday to Friday.
The Rail Delivery Group said discounts were not given on season tickets, but a weekly or monthly season ticket could still be the cheapest option for those in this age bracket who commuted frequently by train.
It went on sale nationwide at 7.30am but "exceptional demand" caused the website to fail shortly afterwards.
Demand is especially high because only 10,000 cards are being sold initially. Anyone applying for one effectively goes into a lottery to get one.
The cards are only available online and are used through a phone app – there is no physical card.
"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," said a spokeswoman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train companies and Network Rail.
"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."
Because of the limited number of cards available only one in 500 of the population in the 26-30 age group will be able to buy one at this stage.
Applications can only be made on the 26-30 railcard website, and holders need to download an app before they can use the card. However, the site states that the service is unavailable when visitors press the "buy" button.
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