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Coronavirus: your UK transport rights from trains and coaches to ferries and car insurance

How to make sure you're not out of pocket if isolation measures mean you can't travel in the UK

Coronavirus: your UK transport rights from trains and coaches to ferries and car insurance

The government has warned against all but essential travel across the country to delay the spread of coronavirus.

Less of us will be commuting as people are encouraged to work from home, and many will be giving UK holidays a miss over the coming weeks.

Here’s what this means for your commute and holiday plans in the UK, and your rights to get your money back if you’re cancelling or reducing your travel.


  • You can keep up to date with our latest advice on the coronavirus outbreak over on our coronavirus advice hub.

Updated on 23 March to include train ticket refund updates 

Commuter travel and season tickets

Most public transport companies in the UK will let you cancel your season ticket and will refund you the remaining portion of your ticket.

You can buy a new season ticket when you return to work.

This includes train, bus, tram and coach operators across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

City transport operators like Transport for London, Transport for Greater Manchester and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport will also offer a refund on the remainder of your season pass.

Check the terms and conditions on your operator’s website to find out what its policy is. Some have restrictions on cancelling close to the season’s ticket expiry date.

Some services expect to run a reduced service, so if you still need to travel to work keep up to date with the latest timetable information.

Can I cancel pre-booked train tickets?

The government has said that is has taken measures to ensure that trains necessary for key workers and essential travel continue to operate.

But it says no other passengers should travel.

In light of this it has confirmed anyone with a pre-booked ticket – including previously non-refundable advance tickets – will be able to get full refunds tickets they aren’t able to use while the government advises against non-essential travel.

You will need to claim a refund from your original point of purchase. If you purchased your ticket at a station you should be able to claim a refund via the train companies website.

Cancelled train journeys

If your train journey is cancelled you can get a full refund.

A full refund also applies if you have started your journey but are unable to complete it due to delay or cancellations, and so have returned to your departure point.

You should not be asked to pay an administration fee and you don’t have to accept rail vouchers, even if you bought your ticket with a rail voucher. The same goes for tickets bought online, over the phone or through a travel agent.

You can find out more from our guide to your rights when your train is cancelled or delayed.

Car insurance and car tax

If you drive to work and won’t need to use your car as much, you can contact your insurer and ask to switch the details of your policy from commuter use to social use. This could temporarily reduce your premium payments.

You could even cancel your policy altogether and register your car as being off the road if you won’t need to use your car at all.

You won’t need to pay vehicle tax while it’s off the road, and if you’ve paid up front for the year, you’ll get the remaining amount refunded.

Domestic flights in the UK

You’re entitled to a full refund of your fare if a flight to a UK airport is cancelled.

If a flight is not cancelled, you’re unlikely to get a refund, unless a government warning advises against or prevents travel to your destination.

However, it’s still worth asking your airline if you can postpone your flight booking if you’d prefer not to fly.

Read more: Coronavirus outbreak – advice for travellers

Ferry ticket cancellations

If your ferry is cancelled, you’ll be entitled to a full refund.

If you decide not to travel, you can usually get a refund if you cancel within 24 hours. You may have to pay a small cancellation fee.

Irish Ferries, Condor and Wightlink all offer refunds, with a cancellation fee, if you cancel within 24 hours of departure.

Coach ticket cancellations

You’ll need to check whether your tickets are refundable if you want to cancel a coach booking.

For example, National Express is currently only offering refunds on its ‘flexible’ fares. Cancellations must also be made 72 hours before travel.

However, if your coach is cancelled, you will be able to get a full refund.

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