Passenger watchdog has mixed feelings about Gold Card changes

Passenger watchdog has mixed feelings about Gold Card changes

15 October 2014

London TravelWatch has mixed feelings about the changes announced this week to the Gold Card scheme run by the rail industry.

The changes will take effect from 2 January 2015 and while some travellers might benefit, others may end up paying more and many may find the new scheme more difficult to understand.

Positive points about the amended Gold Card scheme include its extension to cover the whole of East Anglia and local services in the West Midlands.  Passengers will also benefit from being able to use their Gold Card discount half an hour earlier, at 9.30am rather than 10am although this could mean that some trains may be more crowded than they currently are at this time.

It is also good news that Gold Card holders will be able to get discounts on First Class travel.

Following the publication of our report on improving public transport to London’s airports, we are pleased to see that travel to and from London to London’s airports will now attract a Gold Card discount, as well as travel to Birmingham International Airport if you travel on London Midland services.

However, East Coast and Virgin are both leaving the Gold Card scheme and Cross Country are not included in the expanded area north of Banbury.  Changes to the child discount also mean that child fares may go up for long distance journeys.

London TravelWatch hopes that passengers will benefit from increased publicity about the Gold Card scheme as a result of the changes that are being made.  This is particularly important in the light of research we carried out last year on passengers’ perceptions of value for money on London’s transport services which found that many passengers were unaware that annual season tickets offer better value for money than weekly and monthly tickets and didn’t know about the other benefits that having a season ticket such as Gold Card discounts.  Many passengers overestimated the cost of an Annual season ticket believing that you were still paying for 48 or 49 weeks’ travel rather than for only 40 weeks. 

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