Refunds for rail and coach fares scuppered by new Christmas restrictions

Greater Anglia train at Cattawade

The Department for Transport is arranging refunds for all travellers whose plans to travel at Christmas have had to be abandoned after the change in Covid tiers. - Credit: Paul Geater

People whose plans to travel away for Christmas were scuppered by new Covid restrictions will have their rail or coach fares refunded by the government - but it could take time for all the money to be returned.

The Department for Transport has announced that train and coach operators will refund advance-purchase tickets that were bought after November 24, when the original Christmas bubble arrangements were announced, before Saturday's announcement of stricter rules.

Operators will be able to issue refunds immediately and passengers should check the website of their train company for how to claim.

However, the government has urged people to be patient, as rail and coach operators will be processing high volumes of refunds over the coming weeks. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is imperative that we all follow the new measures and play our part in tackling this virus, protecting others and safeguarding our NHS.  

“If you booked a coach or rail journey between December 23 and 27, you are entitled to a cash refund.

"This ensures no-one is left out of pocket for doing the right thing - staying home in Tier 4, and elsewhere staying local and only meeting your Christmas bubble on Christmas Day.”