Rail and coach refunds for travellers hit by Christmas U-turn

Travellers left with rail and coach tickets they are unable to use after the government’s Christmas U-turn have been promised refunds.

But airline passengers may be left out of pocket.

On 24 November the British public were told they would be able to make long-distance journeys within the UK without restriction for the purposes of Christmas get-togethers between 23 and 27 December.

They were urged to book trips well in advance, because of the need to ensure social distancing on board.

Following the abrupt cancellation of the five-day “Christmas easing” by the prime minister at the weekend, passengers faced the possibility that they might not get cash refunds for now-worthless tickets – receiving only vouchers.

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But the taxpayer will now bear the cost of refunding journeys starting in England.

The 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.

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“If you booked a coach or rail journey between 23 and 27 December, 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.”

Refunds will be made through individual operators.

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