Coronavirus – can I get money back on my ticket?

17 March 2020

As Coronavirus spreads and official advice changes, we are all thinking about our health and that of those around us. And passengers who have already bought tickets are understandably keen to find out if they can get their money back, including the many season ticket holders who will now be working from home.

The official advice, as of yesterday, is to stop all unnecessary travel and to work from home if you can. We have looked across the transport sector to see what companies are saying and doing. Clear information is important and there are some gaps. You can see our chart which we will update with London TravelWatch regularly. We will add more detail as we find out more – and we’ll look to add other modes of transport, too.

Regarding Advance tickets that are normally ‘no refund’ if you decide not to travel, you’ll see that Southeastern is are setting the pace by allowing full refunds. And LNER is doing the next best thing by giving a credit that can be used later. National Express coaches are saying people can rebook within 12 months.

We’ll be pushing in two areas:

    • Ideally, we want all train companies to give passengers who’ve bought Advance tickets a full refund if they don’t travel. But if they can’t do that an open-ended ‘credit’ should be issued.  Being able to change a ticket for another date with no admin fee is a welcome start. But given uncertainty about when postponed events will be rescheduled, or when social distancing advice will be relaxed, how can most passengers sensibly change their ticket for another date?
    • For all train, bus and tram companies to think about what refund or compensation is reasonable for season ticket holders in light of the new government advice to avoid unnecessary travel and to work from home if you can. On the railway, refunds for season ticket holders assume that you are never coming back. The rules don’t really deal with a potentially long, but temporary, gap in travel.

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