Admin charges eliminated for COVID disrupted rail travel on Advance tickets

  • Rail passengers with pre-sale tickets across the UK will not lose as the government makes it easy to change travel plans
  • Greater flexibility will ensure that passengers are not penalized for complying with new restrictions, building consumer confidence and encouraging passengers to return to the railways when it is safe to do so
  • This temporary measure builds on a comprehensive package of industrial support to keep rail traffic going for passengers

Rail passengers receive additional protection to ensure they are not excluded from COVID-related local restrictions. Passengers who have purchased a pre-sale ticket that they can no longer use later due to changed COVID restrictions will not have to pay the administrative costs of reorganizing the trip for a ticket purchased before an announcement.

With new travel restrictions coming into effect in different parts of the country, passengers are at greater risk of having to change travel plans. The government has worked closely with train operators to build consumer confidence and support the industry.

The new temporary measures allow passengers to apply for rail travel vouchers or credits for unused pre-sale tickets that are valid for up to one year at their own discretion and offer more flexibility than the current rules.

The government is also allowing independent rail retailers to temporarily waive the customary change in travel administration fee for pre-sale tickets.

This decision follows the extensive support of the rail industry during the COVID pandemic to protect jobs and maintain services for passengers. Today’s announcement ensures the support continues when people return to the railways.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

COVID has massively disrupted the way we live, and passengers who buy pre-sale tickets shouldn’t be penalized for canceling their travel plans to follow advice that can save lives.

By temporarily removing these administration fees from pre-sale tickets and increasing the time it takes for people to rebook their trips, we’re ensuring that large numbers of rail travelers stay in their pockets.

The government had previously intervened to allow the reimbursement of pre-sale tickets at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as to remove the administrative reimbursement or change in travel expenses for pre-sale, off-peak, super-off-peak or anytime tickets. These new measures provide further support to customers across the rail network.

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Operating Officer at Rail Delivery Group, said:

When people take the train, we want them to travel with confidence.

Along with extra cleaning and more trains, it means people know that if things change and they can no longer use their pre-sale ticket due to COVID restrictions, they will not be wrongly penalized. So this announcement is good news for our passengers.

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