If an annual season ticket holder cancels their ticket, under current rules, they do not get a fair refund. Instead the refund is prorated to the next cheapest ticket - which effectively means that they only get a partial refund.
Here's an example for you
Say you commute from Chelmsford to London on a ticket that cost £5,168 when you bought it 6 months ago. Now you want to cancel. You might expect that with 6 months remaining, your refund would be £2,584 (half of £5,168), but you’d be wrong.
Instead, your refund is calculated by totting up the price of travelling the same route on the next cheapest ticket. In this case, that would be the cost of 6 monthly season tickets at £496 each, totalling £2,976. So, your refund would be £5,168 - £2,976 = £2,192.
So, your refund is £392 less than you would expect.
Unfortunately, that’s not all you have to reckon with. You purchased your ticket 6 months ago before fare prices went up in January 2020 by an average of 2.7%. That means when you start commuting again you have to re-purchase your ticket at the higher 2020 price. So overall, you’ll be out-of-pocket by well over £400.
Help us change things
That’s why we’re pushing the Department for Transport and Transport for London to extend all annual season tickets by at least 2 months. This would mean commuters won’t need to cancel because they aren’t paying for travel they can’t use, so they won’t be penalised by current partial-refund rules.
You can read our letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps here; please feel free to use it as a template if you wish to write to your own MP. Together we can make things fairer for commuters across the country.