PROTESTS from passengers who were unable to use Advance tickets because of lockdown restrictions but simply lost their money when they did not travel on the booked date have been heeded by the Government.
Although cash refunds will still not be given, passengers holding these tickets will be able to rearrange their journeys up to a year ahead and the administration charges for doing this have been scrapped. They will also have the alternative of claiming rail travel vouchers or credit notes, according to the Department for Transport.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Covid has seen massive disruption to our way of life, and passengers buying Advance tickets should not be penalised for cancelling their travel plans to follow advice that can save lives.
‘By temporarily scrapping these admin fees on Advance tickets, and extending the time people have to re-book their journeys, we are ensuring that large numbers of rail passengers will not be left out of pocket.’
Jacqueline Starr, who is chief operating officer at the Rail Delivery Group, said: ‘When people take the train we want them to travel with confidence.
‘As well as extra cleaning and more trains, that means people knowing that if things change and they can no longer use their Advance ticket due to Covid restrictions, they won’t be unfairly penalised.’
Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith added: ‘Passengers will welcome this decision. It takes the risk out of booking ahead in the fast-changing coronavirus situation. Passengers can plan ahead for Christmas knowing that they won’t lose their money if they aren’t allowed to go.’
The change of policy does not change the rules on Railcards. Although these were also unusable for a long time this year, the government has refused to allow refunds or extensions to their expiry dates.