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Rail passengers to get refund on all tickets

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Rail commuters with advance or season tickets will get a refund from the government after it advised against all non-essential travel during the coronavirus outbreak.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said he was introducing the emergency measures “to ensure no-one is unfairly out of pocket for doing the right thing”.

It comes as the Department for Transport said it would temporarily suspend normal franchise agreements and transfer all revenue and cost risk to the government for an initial six-month period.

The railways have already seen up to a 70% drop in passenger numbers. Rail fares revenue has also reduced as people increasingly work from home and adopt social distancing, with total ticket sales down by two-thirds from the equivalent date in 2019.

Anthony Smith chief executive of Transport Focus and London TravelWatch said: “It is right that government and train companies have recognised the exceptional circumstances posed by coronavirus and allowed refunds on advance tickets and unused time on season tickets. This victory for common sense will be a welcome relief for passengers who feared that they had lost their money.”

How to get a refund

Rail passengers with an advance or season ticket they can no longer use should contact either the train company or independent ticket retailer – wherever they bought their ticket originally.

Advance ticket holders will get a full refund while season ticket holders will get a refund for the amount of unused time left on their ticket.

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