Train Tickets, Railcards and Discounts

  • Our Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd campuses are near train stations
  • Several different discount schemes exist for students
  • You’ll have to work out which discount scheme is best for you

You can check the latest information and travel updates online with National Rail Enquiries

Option One: Discounted Annual Train Season Tickets for USW Students

The USW Group (USW, RWCMD, Merthyr Tydfil College) Travel Plan and Arriva Trains Wales, have negotiated a 34% discount on Student Annual Train Season Tickets.

  • Tickets are only valid on Arriva Trains Wales Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes. However, season tickets may allow the use of trains from other companies provided the ticket is only used between the stations specified on the ticket. For example, if you buy an Arriva Trains Wales Annual Season Ticket between Cardiff and Bridgend, the ticket is likely to also be valid on First Great Western trains – check with the train companies to be sure.
  • The 34% discount only applies to annual tickets.
  • Refunds are limited. With full-price annual tickets, if you don’t need them for at least 10 months and 13 days, you can usually claim a partial refund by returning the ticket. With discounted annual tickets, the refund is calculated against the full price. So if the refund would be smaller than the discount you have already received, you will not get a refund at all. So, if you are on a course with long summer holidays, the ticket may not be the cheapest option, even though it is the biggest percentage discount.

Arriva Trains Wales local routes

To work out the price of this ticket:

  1. Check online how much a full-time Annual Season Ticket would cost
  2. Multiply the price quoted by 0.66 (because 100%-34% = 66% = 0.66)

Example calculations (standard prices were checked in July 2017. Discounted prices are estimated as they cannot be checked online.):

  • Cardiff-Bridgend annual ticket: standard price: £984. With 34% USW discount: £649.44
  • Cardiff-Trefforest annual ticket: standard price: £948. With 34% USW discount: £625.68

Purchasing your ticket can be carried out at any staffed station within the Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes, not through the University.

How to buy this ticket:
Once you have enrolled, you request a Discounted Annual Season Ticket Scheme letter via Advice Zone Online:

Advice Zone Online

Take this letter, together with your enrolment card, a passport sized photo and your payment to any staffed station.

Option Two: Student Railcard Valleys and Cardiff Local Routes

  • Costs £9 per year
  • 26% off day tickets
  • 10% off season (weekly & monthly) tickets
  • Only valid on Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes
  • For more info, see Arriva Trains Wales

Students have to be aged over 16 and in full-time education, or under 26 if they are studying part-time. It’s available from any staffed station – you need your Student ID card, two passport-sized photographs and the application form, which you can download online or pick up at the station.

To work out how much you’ll spend:

  1. Check your teaching timetable
  2. Work out how many days per week you will be travelling
  3. Check the prices for day tickets with and without a “Valleys Student Railcard”
  4. Check the prices for weekly and monthly tickets & multiply by 0.9 to get the discounted price (because 100%-10% = 90% = 0.9)
  5. If you don’t have to travel five times per week, it may be cheaper to buy discounted day tickets
  6. Check on a calendar during which weeks you will need to commute
  7. Calculate totals

Example calculations (prices were checked in July 2017):

  • Day Return Cardiff-Trefforest: £7. With this railcard: £5.20 (If you are lucky and only have lectures on three days a week, for 30 week per year, you would spend approximately £468)
  • One-Week Season Ticket Cardiff-Trefforest: £23.70. With this railcard: approximately £21.33 (So if you commute 30 weeks per year, you will spend approximately £639.90 – but you may commute for more or fewer weeks, depending on your course)
  • One-Month Season Ticket Cardiff-Trefforest: £91.10. With this railcard: approximately £81.99. (So if you buy nine of these, you spend approximately £737.91)

Option Three: 16-25 Railcard

  • Costs £30 for one year or £70 for three years. There may be occasional sales lowering the price, and 16-25 railcards may be offered as perks when opening a student bank account.
  • 1/3 (33%) off most train fares, including most Advance tickets
  • Minimum ticket price for discount to apply is £12 between 4:30am and 10am on weekdays (i.e. during peak times)
  • No discounts on season tickets
  • For more info, visit 16 to 25 Railcard

The £12 minimum price for the discount to apply on workday mornings means this card would only offer you savings if you are commuting a significant distance, or if none of your lectures are scheduled to start early. It may still be a very useful discount if you travel longer distances regularly.

Example Calculations (prices were checked in July 2017):

  • Day Return Bristol Temple Meads – Cardiff Central: £13. With this railcard: £8.60. (If you only have lectures on three days a week, for 30 weeks per year, you would spend approximately £774)
  • Single & Return Tickets on Valley Lines services do not cost £12 or more, so if taking any train before 10am, this card would not offer any discount.
  • However, if you are commuting from farther afield, where return tickets cost £12 during peak time, then this may be the only discount card that applies to you.

This Railcard is available to 16-25 year olds and mature students over the age of 26 who are in full-time education. For more information visit 16 to 25 Railcard