Councillor Struan Mackie, the Highland Conservative Councillors’ Transport spokesperson, has publicly questioned why Caledonian Sleeper services have been left out of the nationwide roll-out of the 26-30 Railcard.
Announced by Chancellor Phillip Hammond in the 2017 budget, the new railcard offers a third off standard fares on the national rail network for passengers aged 26-30. The initial trial was oversubscribed by millennials, with significant queues on the Rail Delivery Group’s website for its initial offering of 10,000 cards nationally. The trial was deemed to be a success and the national roll-out was approved in January this year.
Speaking at Inverness Station, Cllr Mackie said he was deeply disappointed by decision: “It is regrettable that the Caledonian Sleeper will not be accepting the 26-30 card, which was specifically designed to be a national scheme. I am very concerned that by not accepting the discount it will have an adverse effect, particularly in Highland, where the Sleeper has two termini and the highest concentration of station stops."
“For young people looking to travel to the Highlands and for locals looking to visit the UK Capital, not having access to this discount for bunked services is, in my opinion, a backwards step. The company does accept the scheme's 18-25 ‘sister card’, so it seems strange not to accept the 26-30 card.”
“Caledonian Sleeper and Eurostar are now the only service operators whose trains depart from a British station not to accept the 26-30 card in this way, and that is a terrible message to send to young people.”
“I am in communication with the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland to seek a resolution to the matter, and I am hoping that we can remove this anomaly and see the card being accepted on the Caledonian Sleeper”.