Press releases

Rail regulator’s review leads to 50% reduction in maximum fees for ticket refunds

28 March 2024
New rules will mean that from 1 April the maximum fee that train operators and ticket retailers can charge when an unused rail ticket is refunded will be reduced from £10 to £5.
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This reduction follows the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) review which found that of the 5.8 million refunded tickets in 2019/2020, there were notable differences between the cost of processing a refund - on average less than £5 - and the allowed maximum admin fee of £10.

ORR therefore called on the rail industry to review the level of the maximum cap on refund administration fees.

Details of the new £5 cap will be available in the updated National Rail Conditions of Travel, which will be published on 2 April.

Passengers will continue to be entitled to a fee-free refund if they choose not to, or are not able to, travel because their journey has been affected by delays or cancellation.

*A previous version had stated the new cap would come into force on 2 April.

Stephanie Tobyn, ORR director of strategy, policy and reform, said: 

“The processing of refunds is now predominantly done digitally, which has resulted in lower administration costs. The results from our review provided industry with a clear action to make sure these savings are reflected in the refund fee, and we are pleased that the rule change will mean a fairer deal for passengers.”

Notes to editors

  1. Administration fees in the National Rail Conditions of Travel report – February 2022
  2. In applying administration fees for refunds, retailers must comply with:
    • The National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCOT), a schedule of the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA), which sets out the agreement between the passenger and the train operator. NRCOT Condition 29 places a cap on administration fees for ticket refunds.
  3. The new £5 cap applies from 1 April (and explained in the updated NRCOT published on 2 April) to unused tickets where the terms and conditions of purchase allow the customer to request a refund. Advance Purchase tickets, for example, are not refundable unless the train is disrupted or cancelled.  The cap on refund fees for season tickets has not changed and remains £10.
  4. Changes to the NRCOT are proposed by the Rail Delivery Group, on behalf of industry, and approved by the Department for Transport Secretary of State.
  5. Know Your Rail Rights - ORR
  6. The Office of Rail and Road is the independent economic and safety regulator for Britain’s railways, and regulator of performance and efficiency for England’s Strategic Road Network.