New mobile app for National Railcards to be introduced next year.

16-25 Railcards are the main focus of the new app, which is set to be introduced in April 2016. Image by Marcela Usmari
16-25 Railcards are the main focus of the new app, which is set to be introduced in April 2016. Image by Marcela Usmari

Running late for the train home for the weekend…we’ve all been there. What’s more, amongst the panic, you’ve forgotten your 16-25 Railcard – and now you have to pay either full price or face a penalty charge. This situation, however, could soon be a thing of the past, as the UK’s Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has announced they are soliciting for tenders to develop a new mobile Railcard app, and let’s face it: no matter how late we are for the train, we’ll always remember our phones.

There are over 3.7 million Railcards in circulation, and “more than half of all users buy their Railcards online”, according to Andrew Roberson, Head of Marketing for ATOC. A similar proportion is expected to make the switch to the new digital app upon release. The app is predicted to encourage up-take of 16-25 Railcards (previously branded the Student Railcard), which accounts for over 1.5 million of all Railcards in circulation in the UK.

Rail users will be able to store the full range of National Rail discount railcards and the app should ease the process of applying for and using them. Once downloaded, the app will enable offline display and you can even retrieve your account on a new device if you lose your phone.

The development, set to be introduced in April 2016, forms part of a wider move toward mobile ticketing following a successful pilot scheme in Northern England.

By Mark Nichols