I'm considering buying a Senior Railcard, but . . .

I have a difficult time understanding the rail fee schedule. I plan to travel, at the least: one-way from Stratford-upon-Avon to London; return trip from London to Cambridge; return trip from London to Canterbury. According to Rick, the Senior Rail Card would cost me 28 GBP, or about 45 USD. As far as cost goes, that sounds like a great deal. And, if I read the website information aright (railcard.co.uk), I can get a 33% discount on both peak and off-peak trips. Sounds too good to be true. Is it ? I.e., is my understanding faulty ? In addition, would an Oyster Travelcard (not the pay-as-you-go kind) have any bearing on rail travel outside of London ? Thanks.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12306 posts

discount on both peak and off-peak trips That isn't completely true. The website you quoted has a link to the London and South East Network map. I suggest you study it carefully and look at what is in the tinted area. All the beige and yellow tinted area is covered by the restriction mentioned on the link you gave. That restriction is that the Senior Railcard is not valid during the morning M-F peak hours until Cheap Day (Off-Peak) tickets are valid. That time varies by route and operator. The restriction is not in force outside the tinted area, which is the rest of the country, or if your journey is not entirely within the tinted area. The only trip you have identified as allowing the Senior Railcard during the morning peak would be the Stratford upon Avon to London journey as it starts outside the restricted area. Oyster Cards can be used on many trains as well as all zones of bus and Underground only in covered zones. Travelcards no matter if on paper or put onto an Oyster Card have the same rules. Not tapping in (and out when required) can result in big fines. Pay as you go Oyster Cards can be used in any London Zone if there is sufficient credit. Travelcards of any type are only valid in the named Zones. Train tickets can be quite complicated and I have run out of time here. More another time.

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1759 posts

Yes it can be a good deal. You need to do the math to see whether you would recup your outlay on the card. Use this site to see the fares for your journeys. http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/planjourney/search You can also get a further discount on the cheaper advance fares. My OH has one and gets good savings on his long distance trips. You can book advance fares from the USA and claim the Senior Railcard discount without having the pass in your hand but you MUST have it with you when you make your journeys. You will need to pick it up at a rail station when you arrive. Oyster is for the London area only.

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
932 posts

I might be entirely wrong here, but doesn't a Senior RC give some discount on London travel too?

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3143 posts

I bought the Senior Railcard a few years ago. It was good for a year. So, if you expect to be back in Britain within a year the card may pay off. You do need to use it a few times to see any savings. If you can order tickets in advance, you can save about 50% without the Senior Railcard.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1900 posts

A senior railcard gives 1/3 off the price of all single off-peak rail fares in London (NR, tube, DLR and Overground) and also the off-peak price cap. You need to go to a ticket office to get discount entitlement added to your Oyster card. There is also a discount on the purchase of zone 1-6 one day off-peak and 1-9 anytime paper travelcards.