MSE News

All train tickets to be refundable as Government temporarily takes over rail operators

Train operators are transferring all revenue and cost risks to the Government due to the coronavirus pandemic – and anyone holding an advance train ticket will be able to get a refund free of charge.

Rail franchise agreements – where the operation of train journeys are contracted out to private companies – are to be suspended to avoid train firms collapsing as people travel less due to the virus.

The emergency measures will last for six months, initially starting from today – and there will be a reduced service.

See our Coronavirus Life-in-Lockdown guide for full info on train tickets and more. 

How will refunds now work?

Train ticket holders will now be able to get refunds on more fare types, after the emergency measures were brought into place.

  • Advance tickets will now be refundable without any admin fee. Usually, you can't get a refund but can change the time and/or date of travel with a £10 admin fee. Firms agreed to waive this fee last week, but the new measures go further.

  • Season tickets are now partly refundable with no admin fee. If you have at least three days left on a seven-day ticket, or at least seven days on a monthly or longer season ticket, you can get a refund for the unused portion of the ticket without an admin fee of £10. Some rail firms had already waived this fee as of last week.

  • Off-peak and anytime tickets are fully refundable without the usual £10 admin fee. All firms agreed to waive this last week, so there's no change there.

What does the Government say?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are taking this action to protect the key workers who depend on our railways to carry on their vital roles, the hardworking commuters who have radically altered their lives to combat the spread of coronavirus, and the frontline rail staff who are keeping the country moving.

"People deserve certainty that the services they need will run or that their job is not at risk in these unprecedented times. We are also helping passengers get refunds on advance tickets to ensure no-one is unfairly out of pocket for doing the right thing."

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