The Guardian reports:
Passengers who use railcards to buy discounted off-peak tickets have reacted with fury after it emerged that train companies increased the cost of using and buying railcards last Sunday.
The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc), which runs the railcard system, admitted today that the cost of using Young Persons', Friends and Family, and Network railcards had risen by up to 50% for passengers who use their cards during the week. It also said it had increased the cost of buying the cards substantially.
The unannounced changes came in to force last weekend. However, the first that most passengers knew about it was the appearance of boards announcing the new fares at station ticket offices on Monday morning.
Around 2.2m rail passengers use railcards, which mostly give a 33% discount on off-peak train fares. The changes mean students and other young people using a railcard, which costs £26 a year, will see their minimum fare rise from £8 to £12.
Members of the armed services face the same increase in the minimum fare on their HM Forces railcard. Pensioners, meanwhile, are being forced to pay 8% more for their railcard.
The minimum cost of using a Network card, which offers discounts on journeys in London and the south-east, has risen by nearly a third from £10 to £13. Meanwhile, the card itself now costs £25 a year – a 25% increase on last year's price.
Atoc's move was described by furious passengers as the latest "assault" on fares. In January, unregulated fares rose by an average of 6%, and there were further price hike on some routes in April. The railcard increase is the third this year.