Statement on Coronavirus – rail ticket refunds

17 March 2020

Transport Focus welcomes the news that rail passengers seeking refunds or to change tickets won’t pay the usual £10 administration fee, but wants train companies to also look at:

  • providing a refund or open-ended ‘credit’ on Advance tickets passengers no longer need (these are not normally refundable) – so far, Southeastern is giving refunds and LNER is giving credits
  • consider changes to refund arrangements for season ticket holders. The normal refund rules aren’t designed for when passengers have been advised to avoid travel for a potentially long period.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“We welcome Southeastern’s decision that passengers with Advance tickets they no longer need can have their money back – other train companies should follow that lead.  At the very least there should be a ‘credit’ issued – with no time limit to spend it – as LNER has announced.

“Season ticket holders matter as well – people shouldn’t be expected to carry on paying to get to work if they are being advised to stay at home.

“The Coronavirus is creating exceptional circumstances which don’t always fit the normal ticket refund rules – it’s important that train companies do the right thing by passengers who end up not travelling.”

Transport Focus has produced a summary of what different transport companies are saying about ticket refunds. We will keep this updated as the situation changes.

Notes to editors

Correct as of 17/3/20.

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