The number of people eligible for discount rail fares has been expanded but campaigners have claimed the new scheme is more complicated.
ScotRail announced this week that cheaper off-peak tickets will be available to those aged 50 and over, instead of the current 55 cut-off, from September 14.
This is the first time I’ve qualified for discounted travel, so it’s good news for mSusan Ross, Brightons resident
The fare deals, which must be booked in advance, will also be available all year around for the first time.
But the previous £19 return flat fare has been replaced with discounts of up to 20 per cent, and those joining the new “Club 50” scheme must pay an with a £15 annual fee to join.
Members will receive 20 per cent off tickets booked online, and 10 per cent off off-peak and advance fares at ticket offices.
Those registering before 31 August would also get two £10 return fares anywhere in Scotland, and free on board tea and coffee where available.
Railfuture Scotland spokesman Ken Sutherland said: “There is a whiff of arrogant complacency that those who are the losers from scrapping the 17-year continuity of Club 55 can still be ‘taken for granted’ and will continue to fork out for the eye-watering costs of much longer-distance train travel.”
A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “We believe it is fairer to offer discounts all year round, and to include shorter trips.
“Club 55 was popular but it excluded 70 per cent of off-peak journeys because the normal fare was less than £19.
“With Club 50, everyone gets a discount for off-peak travel no matter the journey, so it’s much more flexible.”
The new deal proved popular with one passenger, however.
Susan Ross (53), from Brightons, said: “This is the first time I’ve qualified for discounted travel, so it’s good news for me.
“My mum lives in Galashiels so we can both use the new Borders railway to visit each other, and save money in the process.”
Club 50 members require an email address to register.
As part of the registration process, they will be asked to create a password and take or upload a photo of themselves via their PC, smartphone or tablet. This will create – or be linked with an existing - online account to enable Club 50 members to be able to buy tickets over the internet.