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Thursday 29th February 2024

Can I get a refund for my season ticket? 

Mouthy Money Your Questions Answered panelist, Martyn James, answers a reader’s question on refunds and train strikes. 


Q: I have a season ticket but because of train strikes I’ve not been able to use it as much as normal, can I get a refund for the missed days?   

A: If you’ve paid for advance train tickets or passes or if you have a season ticket, then you should be able to get a refund if a train is cancelled or delayed because of a train strike. 

How the process works depends on the individual rail company and they have all the details on their websites. You will usually need to choose ‘Industrial Action’ as the reason for the delay if you weren’t able to travel on a strike day. 

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This type of refund is known as ‘delay/repay’ and most companies allow you do this quickly via their websites. 

For season tickets, be it a monthly, annual, or flexi ticket, the money is calculated on a pro-rata basis, although this does vary by company.  

However, very few train firms automatically refund you. In fact, many make you jump through a zillion hoops to get your cash back and you may be charged an admin fee for doing so. 

There are many reasons why you may need to ask for a refund, not just train strikes, and  according to Network Rail, if your service has been cancelled, delayed, or rescheduled, you ‘may’ be entitled to a fee-free change or refund from the original retailer of your ticket. 

If you have advance tickets and can’t – or chose not to – travel because of the cause of the delay you should also be able to get your money back. But train operators have a few caveats to this, which is why the Network Rail statement features the word ‘may’ when mentioning refunds. 

For example, when services aren’t completely suspended, some train operators say they will allow you to use your ticket on alternative services instead. This could be travelling on an earlier or later train or possibly by a rail replacement bus, for example. But if there is an alternative on offer, the train company may deny you a refund.     

However, if you can’t get the service (be it the actual train or a replacement) and you’re denied a refund, you can make a formal complaint to the train operator. If this doesn’t work, you can also make a complaint to the Rail Ombudsman. 

Martyn James is a leading consumer rights campaigner, TV and radio broadcaster and journalist. 

Photo credits: Pexels

Rebecca Goodman

Award-winning freelance journalist with a decade of experience working for online and print publications in the consumer sector.

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