Travel in the UK

Free travel with your employer

If you work for a passenger train company in mainland Britain, the odds are that you’re entitled to an extraordinary range of discounts of travel both at home and abroad.

Firstly, you’ll almost certainly be entitled to unlimited free travel on your employer’s services for both work (including commuting) and leisure. You’ll be issued with a card stating what you’re entitled to. This will be issued and renewed automatically.

If your employer’s owning company (for example, FirstGroup or Abellio) operates more than one train company, you may be allowed to travel for free with them as well – this could be unlimited or strictly controlled. They’ll let you know what the case is.

Cheap travel with other train companies

Most permanent staff will be automatically sent what’s known as a ‘priv’ card – occasionally known by its Sunday name, ‘the staff travel card’. You might also hear it referred to as an ‘ATOC’ card. This should arrive within four weeks of you starting work.

This card will get you 75% off walk-up fares on timetabled mainline operator, it doesn’t cover special trains or Eurostar. Walk-up fares are any ticket that you can buy at the station that doesn’t require a reservation – that’s Anytime, Off Peak and Super Off Peak fares.

As with your company travel card, your priv is issued and renewed automatically.

The rules

You can use your priv card in exactly the same way as a Railcard, but there’s no time restrictions. Remember to carry it with you at all times when travelling, otherwise your tickets won’t be valid.

Depending on who you’re travelling with, this could result in a costly new ticket or even a Penalty Fare.

For many, many political and historic reasons, your priv card is not valid in Northern Ireland. 

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