Transport User Voice – April 2020 – Coronavirus and claiming refunds

27 March 2020

The country is in lockdown but, as a key worker, how do I get into work and back? My season ticket is useless now I’m in lockdown, so how can I reclaim some of the money?

These are some of the key passenger issues Transport Focus and London TravelWatch continue to focus on arising from travel restrictions intended to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Creating stability is important for passengers and for the wider economy. It was good to see the government support train operators to keep services running in these challenging times and to help them get back up and running again as soon as this is over.

It’s vital those who still need to travel can do so safely and avoid crowding that makes social distancing impossible. Significantly fewer people are now travelling, heeding the instruction to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. But many key workers still have to travel, and passengers who can no longer make journeys need to know their rights.

It is right that Government and train companies have recognised the exceptional circumstances posed by coronavirus and allowed refunds on Advance tickets. This victory for common sense will be a welcome relief for passengers who feared that they had lost their money.

Season ticket holders matter as well – people staying at home do not want to pay for journeys they are not going to make and are asking how they can get their money back. As the normal refund rules aren’t designed for when passengers have been advised to avoid travel for a long period Transport Focus asked the railway and the government to consider changes to refund arrangements for season ticket holders.

Transport Focus has pressed for the need for a better refund calculation and for the £10 admin fee to be removed. Some train operators have waived the usual £10 admin fee but for now the other existing terms and conditions for season ticket refunds will continue to apply. It is worth making your own calculations before submitting your refund request – so you know roughly what to expect. The National Rail website season ticket calculator can help in this.

Anybody with an Advance ticket or season ticket they no longer need because of coronavirus should apply for a refund promptly from whoever they bought it from, whether that’s a train company or an independent ticket retailer.

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.

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