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No lockdown refund for Railcard customers

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Written by: Emma Lunn
01/10/2020
Millions of railcard holders won’t receive any recompense for the months in which they were told not to make non-essential journeys.

The government has decided not to offer refunds, extensions or discounts on renewal for Railcard holders who couldn’t use their cards during lockdown.

An annual Railcard normally costs £30 and gives a discount of 34% on train fares, albeit with some time restrictions.

From late March until July, passengers in England and Scotland were told to avoid rail travel if at all possible, while Transport for Wales maintained the essential travel only policy until 17 August.

Consumer experts were hoping Railcard holders could get a partial refund or their card extended to compensate for not being able to make train journeys during lockdown.

But the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which runs the railcard programme, has now told passengers: “After careful consideration the government has confirmed to us that railcards will remain non-refundable and will not be extended.

“Refunding or extending railcards for over 5.1m 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.”

Anthony Smith, Transport Focus chief executive, says: “Passengers bought railcards in good faith and will be disappointed by the decision not to extend them or offer a discount on renewal to make up for the period when we were encouraged not to travel.

“While the government continues to provide high levels of support to make sure the day to day railway keeps operating, it seems a pity some slack could not be given on this issue to encourage people back to rail travel.”

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