Hoping to get hold of the new 26-30 railcard, dubbed the millennial railcard, today?
You may have a struggle on your hands – within minutes of the 10,000 available railcards going on sale at 7am this morning, the 26-30railcard.co.uk website was struggling to cope with demand.
By 8am it had crashed, redirecting customers to a page that says “Service unavailable” when they click the “Buy now” button. The site had been updated with the message: “Due to high demand access to buy is limited. Please bear with us.”
However, 90 minutes later it was still impossible to buy the coveted card online. Meanwhile, purchasing the railcard over the phone is also proving difficult – The Independent has been on hold for more than 40 minutes at the time of writing (with no end in sight).
A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train companies and Network Rail said: “We’re sorry to those who have been unable to buy a trial 26-30 Railcard this morning. This is due to the exceptionally high volume of traffic on the 26-30 Railcard website.
"We are increasing the capacity on the website to better manage the high level of traffic.
"Railcards are still available to purchase and people should keep checking @Railcard Twitter and Facebook pages for updates.”
The scheme was first piloted for 16 to 30-year-olds living in East Anglia back before Christmas, with the idea of rolling it out nationwide if it proved successful.
As The Independent revealed on 11 March, the first batch of railcards available to anyone in the UK born between 14 March 1987 and 13 March 1992 was due to be released on 13 March.
Many prospective buyers have reported the site has been crashing since early this morning. Harriot Bishop wrote on Twitter: “Trying to get a 26-30 Railcard is about as painful as trying to get tickets for Take That’s Progress tour in 2010 (and this is the least millennial reference you’ll see on the subject today).”
Daniel Walsh tweeted: “This ‘Millennial #railcard’ debacle is like a polite version of the Hunger Games.”
The chaos surrounding the railcard’s launch will see many disappointed, particularly those at the upper end of the age bracket for whom this was the last chance to enjoy discounted travel until they hit 60 and qualify for a Senior Railcard.
Competition is fierce; an estimated five million British people are eligible for the 26-30 Railcard, which means there is only one for every 500 people in the 26-30 cohort.
The railcard is digital-only and is available to buy online or over the phone – it is unavailable for purchase at rail stations.
More millennial railcards are expected to be released in due course, but by then it will be too late for those on the cusp of turning 31.
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