Disability Railcard: Are Disabled Persons Railcards value for money?

Guy Pierce / 17 December 2015 ( 28 March 2017 )

What is a Disabled Persons Railcard? How do they work? Will they save you money?



What is the Disabled Persons Railcard?

Often referred to colloquially as the Disability Railcard, the Disabled Persons Railcard gives disabled people a third off rail fares throughout the UK, covering the 10,000 track miles and some 2,500 stations under the umbrella of Network Rail in Great Britain.

One of the great advantasges of the Disabled Persons Railcard is that unlike many other discount railcards, there is no time restriction for its use, so you can travel before 9.30am Monday-Friday, for example.

The card is valid on all Network Rail routes and you can use it not only when buying tickets direct from a station ticket office but also from other online ticket providers.

The cost is £20 per year (£54 for a three-year pass).

Any one adult travelling with you also gets a third off the price of their ticket. That person does not have to be designated when you buy your Disability Railcard - it’s simply the person travelling with you on that particular journey.

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Disabled rail concessions in Northern Ireland

For residents in Northern Ireland the Disability Railcard discounts are more generous than in mainland Britain. If you are aged 60 or over, are registered blind or of pension age and suffer from war disablement you travel free.

You are eligible for a 50% discount if you are partially sighted, do not have a driving licence due to medical conditions, or have a learning disability.

Do note there are restrictions regarding use of the concession for cross-border travel.

Visit nidirect.gov.uk for further details

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Who is eligible  for a Disabled Persons Railcard?

The Disabled Persons Railcard covers a wide range of disabilities:

  • Visual and/or hearing impairment

  • If you suffer from epilepsy

  • If you are in receipt of Personal Independence Payments or Disability Living Allowance

  • If you receive Attendance or Severe Disablement Allowance, War Pensioners Mobility Supplement or War/Service Disablement Pension

Download our FREE guide to help answer some of the key questions around care. From Saga Healthcare.

What proof of identity/disability do I need?

In almost every case, the original award letter will be sufficient. No photo ID is required.

If you suffer from epilepsy, you will need to provide your Exemption Certificate for epilepsy medication and a copy of your prescription. If your condition prevents you from driving, you will need to show a copy of a letter from the DVLA confirming this.

In the case of visual impairment, you will be required to provide a copy of your CV1 (BP1 in Scotland) or BD8 Certificate.

If you are deaf, or simply use a hearing aid, enclosing a copy of the front cover of your brown NHS battery book with your application form should be sufficient, or a copy of your dispensing prescription from your private hearing aid supplier.

Alternatively (according to the Disabled Persons Railcard helpline), for both visual impairment and hearing loss, a Social Services stamp on the application will be sufficient. 

How do I get a Social Services stamp on my application for a Disabled Persons Railcard?

To get a Social Services stamp, you need to register your sight or hearing loss with social services at your local authority; they will organise an assessment for you, after which you will be able to get a Social Services stamp on your application. 

Many people dislike the idea of registering their disability, but it's a good way for the local authorities to understand how many people with certain disabilities they have in their area, and plan and manage funds accordingly.

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Is the Disabled Persons Railcard worth the £20 investment?

Even if you are an infrequent rail user, an unqualified yes.

Is the Disabled Persons Railcard value for money?

You can quickly make up the initial £20 outlay. A weekday return from London to York, for example, could cost £140.50. With the Disability Railcard, the same journey would be £93, a saving of £48.10, almost two and a half times the cost of your card.

If you use your railcard for local journeys, then you can quickly recoup your £20 cost, too.

A peak-time day Liverpool-Manchester day return could cost £20.30. With the card it’s £13.40. Do that journey four times and you’re already ahead.  

However, you cannot ‘double up the discount’ by adding your Disabled Persons Railcard discount to, say, a Senior Railcard that you possess.

Read more tips for saving money on travel

Are there any other discounts I can combine with my Disability Railcard?

In London, you can register your Disabled Railcard to your Oystercard to get a third off fares. Also, a third off Travelcards.

Some ferry companies also offer discount to Disabled Railcard-holders when you combine a rail/sea journey.

For crossings to the Isle of Wight visit wightlink.co.uk/iow, and redfunnel.co.uk. For Stena services to Ireland and Holland, visit stenaline.co.uk.

In addition to travel discount, the Disabled Railcard gets you discounts on a range of products, services and entertainment, including Virgin Experience, 2 for 1 entry to London attractions and respite holidays for disabled people and carers.

Find out about other discounts for the over-50s

How do I get a Disabled Persons Railcard?

For how to apply and other details, visit disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk

Call the Disabled Person Railcard phone number: 0345 605 0525 7am-10pm week-long; textphone for the hearing impaired: 0345 601 0132

Assistance when travelling by rail

If you can give the rail company you are travelling with 24 hours notice, then planned assistance is available for your journey. Visit nationalrail.co.uk for a list of rail companies and their websites/contact numbers. Or visit passenger-assist.org.

If you are travelling at short notice then notify the ticket office of your requirements – accessing a carriage by mobility scooter, for example.

Plan your journey by visiting Stations Made Easy, a guide to individual rail stations and their accessibility. 

Help your loved ones keep their independence at home with Saga SOS Personal Alarm service, part of Saga Healthcare. No start-up costs, no delivery charges and the first month is FREE. Find out more here

Next article: Read our guide to the top accessible attractions in the UK  >>>

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.