BRITAIN’S Association of Train Operating Companies, representing all 25 passenger franchises, has targeted young and ’young elderly’ travellers in its year-long drive to add 200000 more people to the 2 million holders of railcards granting up to one-third discount on many tickets. Sales of railcards, valid for 12 months, and discounted tickets purchased with them generated almost £350m of income for ATOC members in 1996-97, around 12·8% of total passenger receipts and 8·2% up on the previous year.

ATOC is to establish a database of railcard holders, with the aim of introducing a system of expiry reminders and renewals by post from early 1998. The price of the Senior Railcard for travellers aged 60 and over is set to rise from £16 to £18 on September 28, but ATOC hopes to add an additional 150000 to the current 605000 holders over the next year.

An identical price rise was introduced on August 17 for the Young Persons Railcard for travellers aged 16 to 25. It is hoped to add 100000 to the present 725000 cards in use, principally with a new package of discounts for card holders at ’key youth-focused companies’ including Sony Music, Pizza Hut and holiday company Club 18-30. A four-year card expected to generate £40m in ticket sales has recently been introduced, available free to first-year students opening a Student Service account with Midland Bank. o