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Applied for a TfL season ticket refund online? Look out for a SECOND payment

Transport for London (TfL) customers who applied online for season ticket refunds during the coronavirus pandemic and had already had a partial payment have now been sent additional rebates of about £70 on average. It should be paid automatically, but it's worth checking that it's come through if you're owed – and some may need to log in to their account to get the refund paid as cash.

When Londoners were told to use public transport only for essential travel due to the coronavirus outbreak, many with season tickets – ie, travelcards allowing unlimited travel in their chosen zones for a set period – applied for refunds as they were no longer able to use them.

TfL set up a temporary online service to cope with the high numbers of refund requests, with those using this online service given the majority of their refunds as an interim measure while TfL checked the exact amount they were owed. Now, TfL has issued a second payment to customers to give them their full refund amount – this includes the £5 admin fee which would usually be applied to a season ticket refund, but which TfL has decided to waive during the pandemic.

TfL wasn't able to tell us how many customers have been sent a second payment, but it said the average paid is £73 (including the £5 admin fee). However, we've seen one as high as £225 – so it's well worth looking out for.

See our Coronavirus Life-in-Lockdown Help guide for help on train tickets and more during the pandemic, and our Oyster Card Refunds guide for more on TfL.

How to check if you were due a second payment

The second payments have been issued to those who applied for a season ticket refund online during the coronavirus pandemic. If you applied for a refund by phone, you'll have been given the full amount first time around, so won't get a second payment.

The second refund will have either been paid straight into your bank account, or as web credit if you'd previously requested that instead – so it's worth checking your TfL account too.

If you were paid a web credit and want to access the cash, you'll need to redeem it online to have it paid into your bank account.

Can I still ask for a TfL refund?

Officially you need to apply for a season ticket refund within eight weeks of your last journey, so if you stopped travelling at the start of lockdown it's now too late to ask for your money back (some may still be within the eight-week period if you stopped travelling later though – for example, if you continued to travel to your job as a key worker but were later furloughed or had to self-isolate).

But TfL has told us that if more than eight weeks have elapsed since your last journey and you still want a refund, you can ring up and explain why you haven't applied for one before – your request will then be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. So if there was a specific reason why you couldn't apply before, it's still worth asking if you can get a refund now.

You can no longer apply for a refund online, so will have to call to get one. You can phone TfL on 0343 222 1234 between 8am-7pm daily, though TfL has warned its phone lines are very busy at the moment, so it's worth trying again if you don't get through straightaway.

You can ask for a refund if you have a certain amount left on your season ticket:

  • Six weeks remaining on an annual ticket
  • Seven days remaining on a monthly ticket
  • Three days remaining on a weekly ticket

If you didn't buy your ticket through TfL (for example, if you bought it through Trainline or from another train company), you'll need to contact the firm you bought it from to ask for a refund.

How much are TfL season ticket refunds worth?

Your total refund will have been based on how much you paid for the season ticket, minus how much you would have paid if you'd bought travelcards for the equivalent time you used the season ticket for.

Once you've got your refund, your season ticket (and the Oyster card it's linked to) will be stopped. If you start travelling again and want to use a season ticket, you'll need to buy a new one.

What does TfL say?

A TfL spokesperson said: "A temporary online refund option was set up to deal with high demand and any customers who used it were immediately refunded the majority of the cost of the season ticket while TfL verified the exact amount owed, which was made in a second payment along with the waived £5 admin fee."

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