MSE News

Railcards WON'T be extended or refunded despite coronavirus lockdown

Millions of railcard holders won't get any refund or extension to their cards as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, it's been confirmed – despite many being unable to use them for months while the Government advised against non-essential rail travel.

Rail services have continued to run throughout the pandemic, but for a long period during lockdown – from late March until July in England and Scotland and until mid-August in Wales – rail passengers were told to avoid travelling if possible. As a result, many had no use for their railcard.

See Cheap Train Tickets for more ways to cut your travel costs, plus our Coronavirus Life-in-Lockdown Help for more on other kinds of refunds you may be owed due to the pandemic.

Why are railcards not being refunded or extended?

There are various types of railcard, but they usually cut a third off the bill when you travel by train. Most are £30/year or £70 for three years (£23.30/year), so we usually say if you spend £90+ a year on non-peak train journeys it's worth considering getting one – but with many unable to travel it's possible some may have ended up spending more on the railcard than it saved them.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents the rail industry, has consistently said since the start of the pandemic that railcard holders cannot be refunded, but the Government had been considering the issue. However, it's now been confirmed that the no-refunds policy will continue. 

A Railcard spokesperson said: "After careful consideration, the Government has confirmed to us that railcards will remain non-refundable and will not be extended.

"We understand that this decision may not be the news our customers had been hoping for.

"Refunding or extending railcards for over 5.1 million customers would come at a significant cost to the taxpayer at a time when the focus must be on maintaining rail services to support the country's recovery from the pandemic."

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!