South Western Rail refunds over 36,000 season tickets
21 September, 2020 / by Matt Smith
Not too late for a refund
The rail franchise South Western Rail has handed out refunds to over 36,000 commuters who were unable to use their season tickets in full, due to the impact of Covid-19.
Season tickets into central London, which usually last the entire year, can cost several thousand pounds. For example, an annual season ticket from Chiswick rail station to London Waterloo costs £2,640. One from Gunnersbury station to Stratford costs £2,076.
Commuters who bought a season ticket in January have faced months of uncertainty, and between the demands of social distancing and child care many have lost out on three or four months’ use of their season ticket.
A spokesperson for SWR, Duncan Claber, told The Chiswick Calendar:
“We have refunded over 36,000 customers who were unable to use their season ticket due to the Coronavirus restrictions that were in place, and we also extended the period in which customers could backdate their refund claim.”
Season tickets bought before 23:59 on 6 September can be backdated up to 56 days, as long as they have not been used in the 56 day period. In the event that you were ill, you can apply for a refund for more than 56 days. You’ll need to provide a doctor’s medical certificate that covers the time you wish to be refunded for.
If you think you may be eligible for a season ticket refund, you can find more information following the link below:
‘Flexi-tickets’ facing delay
Plans by train operators to provide flexible season tickets to cater for people returning to the office part-time are have not yet been confirmed. Rail companies last month submitted plans to the Department for Transport to offer ‘carnet-style’ ticketing. Buying carnet train tickets means customers receive a book of pre-paid, standard class tickets for a certain journey. These are single, rather than return tickets which work out cheaper than buying the same ticket for that journey on the day you travel.
The Sunday Times reported earlier in September that rail companies have been told by the Government that the proposal would not be approved in time for January, when ticket prices are set to rise.
Rail franchises axed
The government today (21 September) has announced their decision to scrap rail franchising, and announced plans to extend support for train firms. The railways were effectively nationalised when passenger numbers dropped significantly over the lockdown.
The support bill for train companies is already at £3.5 billion, with the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, saying that more support may be needed, as passenger numbers are still less than half of pre-coronavirus levels.
Emergency measures to cover the losses of train firms have been extended by 18 months. They reduce the fees that can be earned by the companies but will mean that trains are still able to run, even with fewer passengers.
Image above: The Transport Secretary – Grant Shapps