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Covid-19: Financial Loss to Rail Passengers

Transport – in the House of Commons on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Gareth Johnson Gareth Johnson Conservative, Dartford

What steps he has taken to protect rail passengers from financial loss during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

What steps he has taken to protect rail passengers from financial loss during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris Minister of State (Department for Transport)

We have extended refunds to all ticket types and made claiming refunds easier to ensure that passengers do not lose out financially.

Photo of Gareth Johnson Gareth Johnson Conservative, Dartford

What discussions has the Minister had with rail operators such as Southeastern over season ticket holders who have just a couple of months left on their season ticket, and who, because of the virus, have been unable to travel but are ineligible for a refund? These commuters have suffered quite considerably and it would be welcome news if some assistance were available for them.

Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Government have been talking to train operators throughout this whole process, as my hon. Friend would expect, but we do not have plans to extend season tickets. Season ticket holders are already entitled to request a refund in accordance with the National Rail conditions of travel. Over 100,000 season ticket holders have already claimed refunds totalling £150 million in the current covid travel restriction period.

Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

Mr Speaker, you may hear my toddler chuntering away in the background.

It is crucial that people who are doing the right thing and avoiding public transport are not left out of pocket. Will my hon. Friend therefore confirm that passengers in Morley and Outwood who have purchased their advance tickets—as well as those with season tickets, which he has already mentioned—will be able to receive a refund without any charge for any unused travel during the outbreak?

Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris Minister of State (Department for Transport)

We have worked with the rail industry to temporarily extend refunds to all ticket types. These changes reflect the exceptional circumstances and the Government’s advice to avoid unnecessary travel. Anytime off-peak and super off-peak tickets can be refunded as usual, and since 17 March all admin fees have been waived. Advance tickets purchased before 23 March for travel from that date onwards are eligible for a fee-free refund, whether the train is cancelled or not. Unused carnet tickets can be refunded or extended depending on the train operator, and season tickets, including station car park season tickets, are already refundable, so we have not changed that policy. A £10 admin fee remains for season ticket refunds.