Oh dear. It’s six months since Philip Hammond stood up in the Autumn Budget and announced a new railcard for those aged 26-30 ‘giving 4.5m more young people a third off their rail fares’. Yet the millennial railcard remains a near mythical artefact – with a mere 10,000 released on the day of the official ‘national’ launch. It’s understood the delay is down to a row over who should pay for them. The Treasury had hoped they would be a cost neutral policy but Network Rail aren’t convinced so it is being slowly trialled – and in the short term the Treasury don’t want to be landed with a bill while everything is worked out.
Now it seems even Tory MPs are growing tired of the delay. At Treasury Questions, Patrick McLoughlin – the former transport secretary – asked Hammond when his constituents could expect to get theirs. Alas, the Chancellor appeared rather taken aback to be asked about a policy he himself had announced in the Budget:
PM: In the Autumn statement the Chancellor announced the extension of the railcard from 26-30. When will my constituents be able to take advantage of this?
PH: Umm… a… umm … err… a pilot.. err .. railcard for this age group was launched as a trial and was fully subscribed very quickly. The department for transport will be announcing in due course when the err continuation of this scheme will take place.
Watch this space.