Coronavirus and ticket refunds

13 March 2020

The dreaded Coronavirus is all anyone can talk about. But what does it mean for passengers?

Meetings and events are starting to be cancelled or postponed and it may get to a point where we’re advised not to travel altogether.  Those in high-risk categories are already being encouraged to be cautious.

As you may know we’re pressing train companies to be explicit about refund rights when they tell people ‘do not travel’.  The current situation is similar, even though it might not be the train company saying you shouldn’t go.  Where do passengers stand if, having bought a ticket already, their employer or the government says ‘work at home’?  And what about tickets to get to a sporting event or the theatre?  What if you are in a high-risk category and decide, even if it’s still going ahead, that you just don’t want to risk it?

We want the rail industry to be crystal clear about refund arrangements – and to recognise that sticking to normal ‘terms and conditions’ could be unreasonable.  Essentially, we want a commitment to no-quibble refunds, without admin fees, if people who have already paid decide not to travel because of the virus.  And for season ticket holders who are told not to travel to get a refund for each day concerned.

We’re in touch with the Rail Delivery Group urging this to happen and expect to hear back soon.  It would be great if bus, coach and tram operators could do the same, including for season ticket holders.

This is important. At a time like this passengers need certainty. They also want to feel that transport companies are being reasonable about refunds if they don’t make a trip.

It’s good for us passengers to hear about measures to keep stations, stops, buses and trains extra clean. If you’ve seen any examples – good or bad – we’d love to hear about them. Tweet me @anthonysmithTF or leave a comment here.

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