Earlier this month, ‘Two Together’ became the first new railcard to be launched in 30 years.
As the name suggests, the discount scheme is open to two people travelling at the same time only.
For £30, owners can make their money back in just one long-distance trip – a standard London to Preston return journey costs £84.80 per person, that’s £169.60 for two. The discounted fare, plus the price of a new railcard, comes in significantly cheaper, at £142.
As one half of a couple, you might expect me to be rejoicing at the news. Especially as one spends longer than she’d like on railway platforms.
And in part, I am. I’ve been missing my Young Person’s railcard since passing that all important 26th birthday milestone last summer. But, for whatever reason, this formerly long-time single girl still boiled with rage at the news.
Fair enough, the card isn’t just for those in a relationship. Any two people can apply – friends, family, colleagues. The only stipulation being those whose photos appear on the card must travel together on both legs of the journey.
So, the anger was not directed at smug romantic couples, as once it used to be.
No, just at the fact that singletons once again seem to be getting a rough deal. They are now officially the only group NOT to be issued a discount. There are cards for the young and old (no problem), those travelling in large groups and those with kids. All of them saving one third on their train fare, while the lonesome pay full whack for the privilege of travelling alone. As yours truly did last weekend, on a journey up north to visit Momma S.
So there I was, by myself, on the 20.30 from Euston. Looking around, the angry solo traveller. I would put money on the fact I was the only one in the carriage who had paid full price. Discrimination, I thought, as I pulled out my copy of Vogue and bottle of water. ‘Not right’ I continued to mutter, ‘there’s nothing wrong with being by yourself, it’s better at times in fact’.
Which may have been true, aside from the fact that my hand had become red after struggling to remove the bottle cap from my Evian.
‘Excuse me’ I sheepishly asked the man at the seat opposite. ‘But would you mind...’
It may be time to let that stubborn single girl go. The Boy can come along next time. Anyone know where I can get an application form?