Additional charges for rearranging advance railway journeys disrupted by COVID-19 regulations will be scrapped, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
The DfT said the new measures will ensure passengers affected by changing levels of restrictions across the UK will not be left out of pocket.
The new temporary measures mean those who have bought an advance rail ticket that they can no longer use due to the restrictions will not have to pay the administration cost of rearranging their travel.
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Passengers can claim discretionary rail travel vouchers or credit notes for unused advance tickets that are valid for up to a year, offering more flexibility than the current arrangements.
The Government is also allowing independent rail retailers to temporarily waive the usual change of journey admin fee for advance tickets.
The measures are designed to protect jobs and support the industry, as well as maintaining public confidence in services as passengers return to the railways.
‘Passengers will not be left out of pocket’
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 rebook their journeys, we are ensuring that large numbers of rail passengers will not be left out of pocket.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said passengers will welcome the decision.
“It takes the risk out of booking ahead in the fast-changing coronavirus situation,” he said.
“Passengers can plan ahead for Christmas knowing that they won’t lose their money if they aren’t allowed to go.”