Passengers who have cancelled their Christmas travel plans will have their train and coach bookings refunded, the Government has announced.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said customers will not be “left out of pocket” for “doing the right thing” amid the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions across the UK.
Pressure has been mounting on Shapps to guarantee that anyone who has to cancel their travel plans because of the change in Government advice for Christmas gets a refund.
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It came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson curtailed the Christmas “bubble” policy on Saturday and placed large parts of east and south-east England under new Tier 4 measures.
Cash refunds will be provided for cancelled rail and coach bookings in England for the previous Christmas travel window of December 23 to 27, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.
Tickets will only be refunded if they were purchased after the travel window was announced on November 24 and before it was amended on December 19.
Passengers are advised to check their train operator’s website for how to claim.
Mr 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 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.”
COVID-19 restrictions were due to be relaxed for the festive period to allow households to meet for five days in what was called a Christmas “bubble”.
However, due to a rise in coronavirus cases, only two households – outside Tier 4 areas – will now be able to meet for Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, areas under Tier 4 restrictions have been effectively returned to the national lockdown rules of November.
The move comes after scientists on the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NervTag) concluded that the mutant strain identified by Public Health England – known as VUI2020/01 – is spreading more quickly.
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