Not only can you claim back money if your train is delayed, you can get cash rather than those annoying train travel vouchers.
I hate being late. I’ll always try to leave early, if not bang on time, so any kind of delay is the kind of thing that really p*sses me off.
And trains are among the worst for getting me somewhere later than I planned. I’m lucky enough to not commute via Southern Rail, though that doesn’t mean my travels are immune to delays (hello Central Line).
Just a few weeks ago my connecting train back down to London from Yorkshire was cancelled. Though my ticket was valid on the next train it would mean I’d arrive back 30 minutes later than planned – and this meant I could get a partial refund!
With that cash arriving in my account this week, I thought it was time to share my Be Clever Basics Q&A for getting a refund when your train is delayed or cancelled.
1. When can you claim a refund for a train delay?
The main requirement is your train has to be delayed by at least 30 minutes, though some pay out at 15 minutes or 60 minutes instead.
The rules also say the delay has to be the train company’s fault in order to get a payout. However, most of the operators have signed up to the “Delay Repay” scheme which will pay out for any delay. These companies will also reduce the minimum delay to 15 minutes by 2020.
2. How do you claim?
You should be able to pick up a form at the station or print one out from the different websites. Most will let you submit a form online. Make sure you keep your train tickets as you’ll need to send them in with your claim.
A handful, including Virgin and C2C, will automatically issue a refund if you meet certain criteria such as book an advance ticket through their own website.
3. How much can you claim?
Again, how big a refund you’ll get depends on the different operators. The length of the delay will also have an impact.
The minimum is 20% of a single delayed journey, though most will give you 50% back for delays between 30 and 59 minutes, and the full single fare back if you are delayed by more than an hour. Some will refund your whole ticket, including the return leg, if the delay is longer than 60 minutes.
4. When do you need to claim a refund by?
You need to submit your claim within 28 days of the journey.
5. Can I get a refund if the train is cancelled?
If you don’t travel due to cancellation you can get a full refund from where you bought the ticket.
If you travel on a different train (check with platform staff first that it’s ok to do this), you’ll only be able to get a refund if you arrive more than 30-minutes later than the original booked train.
6. How can you receive the refund?
You no longer have to get your refund as one of those annoying train travel vouchers. Since July 2015 you can receive the money as cash. Hurrah!!
However, it’s still not easy. You have to request cash or a bank transfer if you want to be paid like this. Some let you do this when you apply, others such as Southern make you exchange the rail voucher for cash at a ticket office.
7. What if I have a season ticket?
You’ll be entitled to compensation equivalent to a single journey. Some train providers will also offer discounts on future season tickets if the service is consistently delayed.
There are paid services you can sign up to which monitor the train delays for you and submit automatic claims. However, I think you’d need to be delayed frequently to justify the costs.
8. What if you used pay as you go Oyster or Contactless in London?
You can claim for tube journeys delayed over 15 minutes. It’s a bit of a faff and you need to use your Oyster account for this.