What is Commuter Club?
Commuter Club is a flexible alternative to an annual travel card for Transport for London and National Rail journeys. Commuters can save on their everyday commute and leisure travel by signing up for one of their cards.
Wait, I don’t think I need an annual travel card
No problem, if you travel regularly you could save upto £100s per year. Most users are looking to save money by switching from more expensive weekly or monthly cards.
It’s a fantastic option if you are planning a move to London, as it will give you the greatest amount of flexibility. Many newcommers move home at least once within their first year, and the card removes the stress you could encounter by being locked into an annual card.
How does it work?
Commuter Club buy annual cards from Transport for London and National Rail then customers take out a temporary loan of one of their cards.
Customers pay by monthly direct debit at slightly less than monthly travel card for the same route. For instance, a Commuter Club Zone 2-5 travel card will cost you £123.65 per month, while a Transport for London monthly card for Zones 2-5 will cost £126. But, the best part is that you get your 12th month absolutely free. In this example, this would be a saving of at least £154.20 per year (1 month free + £2.35 per month) versus buying a equivalent monthly travel card.
Wait, why don’t I just by an annual travel card instead?
You could do that. But although it would be cheaper on a monthly basis as Commuter Club takes a cut, you would have less flexibility and you wouldn’t get the additional Commuter Club benefits (see below). An annual card can cost a lot upfront, for instance £1,312 for an annual Zones 2-5 travel card and you would be more tied in, even if you find yourself with a different commute from moving jobs or home.
Some employers offer season ticket purchase schemes, whereby they purchase a ticket for you and the cost is debited from your monthly salary. But you would still be responsible for repaying the full cost of the travel card and this would be deducted from your final salary should you decide to leave.
It is possible to get a refund on National Rail or Transport for London season tickets, however there are some admin charges (£5 for Oyster, £10 for National Rail) and it’s not possible to get a refund towards the end of a ticket’s travel period. However, on balance if your employer offers a season ticket purchase scheme, this will be cheaper than a season ticket. Whatever you do, don’t take out a short term load to pay for a season ticket as the fees could easily wipe out savings.
What are the drawbacks of Commuter Club?
The one drawback I have discovered is that, as you are loaning the card you aren’t able to login to the Oyster card website to view your activity and top-up credit. This would be useful for claiming back ad-hoc work journeys.
Am I eligible?
You are eligible if you live in Great Britain. Commuter Club is not currently available in Northern Ireland.
Can I cancel?
Yes, you can cancel your card at any time. For instance if you change jobs or move house, you can sign up for a different route or cancel all together.
Are there any other benefits?
Customers get an annual Gold Card free with their Commuter Club card. The Gold Card entitles you to 33% off south-east rail journeys (including long journeys to other parts of Great Britain that originate from London and the south-east).
If you travel by national rail outside if your commute regularly, or even if you make a few big journeys each year, the savings could easily add up to the equivalent of another one or two months of free travel.
Current other benefits include
- 100s of 2 for 1 vouchers in London including Kew Gardens, Tower of London, London Film Museum, London Zoo and West End Shows
- £48 off Fitness First gym membership
- 32% off Odeon Cinema tickets
- £15 off Uber travel
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