VIRGIN Trains has faced a backlash after its bizarre "avocado railcard" stunt backfired.
Yesterday, the new railcard for 26-30 year olds went on sale to just 10,000 travellers - and quickly sold out as the website buckled under the demand.
Last night the train firm launched its own "#avocard" offer, which will give travellers a third-off their rail travel on the West Coast mainline - if they present the green fruit when buying their ticket.
The deal lasts for a week until March 20 - but the stunt has been ridiculed by some on social media, with youngsters accusing Virgin Trains of mocking millennials.
A spokeswoman for Virgin Trains disputed that the response to the offer had been negative and that the response had been "overwhelmingly positive."
She told The Sun Online: "The response to the Avocard on social media has been overwhelming positive. "There have been three times more positive engagements than negative.
"We want to help any of our customers who missed out on the millennial railcard - so we decided to offer them the same discounted fares in a light-hearted way."
But one Twitter user wrote: "Where to even start?! This is so try-hard and condescending. How about lowering the extortionate cost of train travel rather than taking the p*** out of us who can't afford it and missed out on the extremely limited new #railcard."
Another Twitter user said: "Is this some kind of weird making fun of millennials week?"
Another accused the company of a "quick publicity stunt".
"If you're really trying to help, then make it a permanent feature, not a quick publicity stunt which only lasts a week," they said.
Some people did see the funny side.
One said: "I have an avocado which I was going to bin as it’s looking a bit sorry for itself, but I’ll save it now for my trip to London this weekend. Thanks @virgintrains.
Another fan wrote: "If one avacado gets you a 1/3 off, if you bring 3 do you get a free ticket?"
If you are tempted to take advantage of the deal you haven't got long.
As well as your avo, you must be bring photographic ID to prove your age at the ticket office when buying your tickets.
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The discount will also only apply on West Coast journeys and your journey must be completed by midnight on March 20.
Some 5million Brits were eligible for the new railcard, which slashes the cost of train travel by a third, but only 10,000 were made available yesterday - meaning just one in 500 young travellers were able to get their hands on one.
The new railcard is part of a year long trial before the Government decides whether the discounts are rolled out to everyone.Protesters storm the tracks at Manchester's main railway station delaying train services
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Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/5804475/railcard-avocard-26-30-virgin-trains-third-tickets-backfires/1551