It is no secret that for us millennials, life in the capital has become increasingly difficult. Gone are the days when rent in London was affordable, accommodation was spacious and transport was cheap. And it gets even more expensive when you have to commute long-distance by train. Although the national railway has its perks, over the past decade we have witnessed a constant rise of ticket prices, with no end in sight. The Financial Times has raised questions about the financial burden the expected 3.6% increase in fares next year is likely to bring upon millennials.
However, there are reasons for optimism: the rail industry is preparing to launch a Millennials travel card for ages 26-30. It is predicted to extend the benefits of the young person’s 16-25 card to those born between 1980 and late 1990. With the purchase of the new card, people should be able to save a third of off-peak ticket prices. If all current guidelines apply to the new card as well, rush hour times would be excluded from the discount. There will be no restrictions to standard advance tickets, but a minimum spend is expected to apply – currently a £12 for travel before 10 am from Monday to Friday, which is likely to be subjected to a change. In addition, in London, the new card should offer savings on off-peak tube journeys, too.
Before the new card is available to the public, there will be a trial period, where 10,000 people will have the opportunity to test it in Greater Anglia. Once it is released for sale, it would be accessible through the mobile Railcard app. However, this may change in the future due to concerns about fraud and complications arising from crashing apps and dead batteries. After an evaluation, a physical railcard may be introduced, which should make it available at every station and raise its popularity.
All this would be welcome news for millennials, many of whom are cash-strapped and struggle with finances in London. As reported by the Guardian, results from a recent survey targeted at people aged 18-30 revealed a troubling trend – half of all women who participated and 45% of men said that they are using credits regularly to meet their needs from one payday to the next. Another report by the Resolution Foundation think-tank concluded that on average, we are likely to spent almost 1/3 of our income on rent, which is 2-3 times more than what our grandparents had to. With concerns amounting over increasing university tuition fees and the stark contrast between the student debt accumulated and stagnating wages, every financial relief should be welcomed. Some might argue that 30% discount on commuting fares is hardly a solution to the problem. However, it is a step in the right direction and hopefully more will follow.