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New railcard to extend child fares to 16 and 17-year-olds

A new railcard will be launched this year to let 16 and 17-year-olds buy half-price train tickets, the Government has announced. 

The new 16 & 17 Railcard is expected to launch this September, in time for the next academic year.

The railcard will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to buy train tickets at child prices – which are 50% of adult fares – until their 18th birthdays.

Currently under-fives are generally allowed to travel for free with a paying adult, those aged five to 15 get a 50% discount on most fares, while those who are 16 and above may be eligible for the 16-25 Railcard, which gives a third off most fares.

The 16 & 17 Railcard announcement comes on the same day as the launch of the 26-30 Railcard.

See our Cheap Train Tickets guide for more info on cutting rail costs.

How will the new railcard work? 

The 16 and 17-year-olds who buy the railcard will be able to get 50% off rail travel, which is the same discount as a child fare. As with the new 26-30 Railcard, it's expected to be a digital railcard.

The railcard will be valid for one year, or until the holder's 18th birthday, whichever comes first.

The Department for Transport says that full details of how much the railcard will cost will be released in the summer, but told us it aims to make the card "as cheap as possible".

This age group is already able to buy a 16-25 Railcard, which costs £30 for a year and gives holders a third off train travel – but 16 and 17-year-olds who already have this railcard won't be able to use it in conjunction with the new 16 & 17 Railcard.

Unlike the 16-25 Railcard, the 16 & 17 Railcard will give holders discounts on season tickets, travelcards and won't have a minimum fare for peak tickets. It will also give the discount on off-peak, super off-peak and advance fares.

What does the Government say?

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "The new 16 & 17 and 26-30 Railcard will cut fares for a generation of travellers, ensuring more young people than ever will be able to travel on our railways for less.

"Today's announcement of a new 16 & 17 Railcard could cut the cost of travel by hundreds of pounds a year for young people and their parents, making it cheaper to get to school, college and work.

"This builds on the roll-out of the new 26-30 Railcard and our record investment into our railways, ensuring people get the frequent, affordable and reliable journeys they deserve."

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