Brit Railcard buyers face lengthy, unexplained delays. Sound familiar?
The Southern Rail experience without stepping on a train
Brits have found themselves facing long delays in acquiring Railcards following a week of mysterious technical problems at railcard.co.uk.
Doubtless seeking to recreate the daily joy of actually travelling on the British rail network, the discount card outfit, owned by the UK's Rail Delivery Group, has left users twiddling their thumbs since 15 August as it struggled to fulfil customer requests via its online orifice, according to its social media mouthpiece.
Hi Emily, I'm really sorry but we've had issues with our website since Wednesday of last week. Please DM me your email address and I will look into this further for you. Thanks!— Railcards (@_Railcards) August 20, 2018
Customers reluctant to face the randomness of opening times at their local ticket office are able to use the railcard.co.uk website to order Railcards. The process involves the uploading of a photo and paying a fee in order to get discounts on a wide variety of tickets.
Neat, assuming the website actually works.
Aside from a series of glib tweets attempting to make light of the situation, the company has not given much detail on the causes of the problems. Customers, on the other hand, are reporting page load times of 10 minutes or time-outs as they attempt to get hold of their cards.
Travelling using a discounted ticket without a valid Railcard can result in a hefty penalty fare, depending on how the representatives of the kindly UK train companies are feeling.
As a workaround, railcard.co.uk has been directing customers to its telephone ordering service, which has been predictably swamped, and then getting users to email in an image of themselves along with their name and address.
What could possibly go wrong with such a process?
Hi Adam, we are workinghard to resolve the website issues. I would suggest contacting our Customer Support Team, please call us on 03453 000 250 between 7am to 10pm and then emailing your images into us at email@example.com including your name & address.Thanks— Railcards (@_Railcards) August 21, 2018
Even users hoping to get to their local ticket office on one of the rare occasions it is actually open - and not occupied by a queue full of unfortunates seeking the most byzantine way possible between Leeds and Pontefract Monkhill via Cardiff - could be out of luck. Customers hoping to score a bargain using the likes of Tesco vouchers will have to run the gauntlet of the telephone line while website problems persist.
The Register contacted railcard.co.uk to find out what was going on and was told by a helpful spokesperson: "When travelling by train you can save 1/3 off most rail fares when using a Railcard," which will be of huge comfort to affected customers.
The spokesperson for parent company the Rail Delivery Group went on to say: "At the moment our Railcard websites are taking longer to load than normal. Whilst our IT teams are working hard to fix this we are advising anyone who wishes to buy or renew their Railcard to do so by calling 0345 3000 250 or visiting a manned National Rail station."
Thanks to Reg reader Richard Thorne for the tip. ®