Forgetful Railcard holders get fairer deal with refund offer

Train travellers who forget to carry Railcards with their discount tickets and end up paying more will be given the chance to claim the money back.   

A rule change by all train companies means that someone asked to pay extra for failing to show a required Railcard will be guaranteed a refund on at least the first occasion in any year, provided they can produce the Railcard later.  

Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director of Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group – representing train operators - said:   

“Customers make honest mistakes sometimes, we think Railcard holders should have one chance a year to be refunded if they’ve had to pay extra for forgetting theirs. We’re planning digital Railcards too that people can keep on smartphones and other devices if they prefer, making them harder to forget and easier to replace if lost or stolen.   

“These changes are part of wider plans to transform fares and ticketing, which is why we’re also trialling radical changes that would make it much easier for customers to choose the best value ticket for their journey.”   

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said:   

“We have been working closely with the rail industry on the action plan to improve fares and ticketing for passengers, and I am delighted that this is one of the first targets of the plan now achieved.   
“The aim of the action plan is to provide a more modern, flexible and passenger-focused fares and ticketing system, one which takes advantage of all the benefits of new technology. Rail passengers must be able to trust that they are getting the best possible deal every time they travel.”    

Anyone travelling on cheaper tickets bought with a Railcard, which saves the holder at least a third on most rail fares, must carry it at all times on the journey to qualify for the discount - otherwise they can be asked to pay more or be given a Penalty Fare.   

From now on, Railcard holders who make a mistake will have one chance a year to be refunded if they provide proof of the Railcard as set out by the operator they travelled with.   

The move is the first improvement for customers to be accomplished out of a wide-ranging action plan agreed last December between train companies, the government and consumer groups.   

There are more than four million national Railcards in use today, with the 16-25 Railcard and the Senior Railcard the most popular. More information about the range of Railcards is here.  

More information about train companies’ trials to simplify fares is here


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