Important information for customers regarding tickets and refunds
To assist customers during lockdown, train operators including Northern relaxed a number of conditions relating to tickets and refunds. Now the vast majority of services are running and lockdown-related refunds have been processed, these conditions will shortly revert back to how they were prior to lockdown.
From 26 August these conditions will come back into place:
- Cross ticket acceptance: Operators will arrange for tickets to be accepted on other routes as needed when there is disruption. Tickets are also accepted on services where previously timetabled services have not been re-introduced. Previously, tickets were accepted on other routes if there was any disruption.
- Admin fees: a fee of up to £10 may be payable on refundable tickets and for change of journey for Advance tickets.
- Target times for processing refunds and length of refund application period: The time to claim and to have a refund processed was extended to 56 days during the lockdown period. With a record number of refunds now processed and access to stations reinstated, this will now return to to 28 days / 1 month from 26 August. Refunds for unused Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak tickets purchased on or after Wednesday 26 August can only be applied for up to a maximum of 28 days after expiry. This is extended to Advance tickets if applying for a refund due to service delays or cancellation). Tickets purchased before 23:59 on Tuesday 25 August may still apply for refund up to 56 days after expiry.
- Backdating season ticket refunds: refunds for season tickets may still be backdated if people have proof of an illness which prevented them from using their season ticket. Season ticket refunds will no longer be automatically backdated 56 days from the date the refund was applied for. In order for us to refund unused value on a season ticket, it must have either 3 or more days of validity remaining (in the case of a 7-Day season ticket) or 1 week order more days of validity remaining (for a season ticket valid for a month or longer)
Why is this happening?
Some travel rules were temporarily relaxed at the start of lockdown to help passengers: extending the claim period on and backdating refunds during a time when people may not have had time to make the claim; waiving fees on most refunds; and making changes to journeys easier if there was disruption.
Lockdown has now eased, and operators have processed a record number of refunds almost 4 million since lockdown began. This means the temporary changes to the rules are no longer needed.
Can I travel with Northern?
Government advice is that anyone in England can use public transport and that you should consider all forms of transport when planning a journey. Please bear in mind that we are still running a temporary timetable with fewer services on certain routes, so remember to check train times before you travel and allow extra time for your journey.
Our trains also have significantly less capacity on board, due to social distancing measures. To travel with us, you must wear a face covering on board the train and in stations (unless a medical condition or disability prevents you) and please don’t travel if you are showing any coronavirus symptoms.
Can I use a train if I have Coronavirus?
No. If you have been diagnosed with Coronavirus or are showing symptoms, you should follow the advice from the NHS.
Can I buy tickets with cash?
Where possible please use card payments. If you are completely unable to use a card to pay for your tickets, we are accepting cash at booking offices. Remember you must have a ticket before you travel, we are unable to accept payment on board our trains at the moment.
What should I do if my train has been cancelled?
What are Northern doing to maximise social distancing at stations?
We have put a number of measures in place at our stations to remind customers of the need to keep socially distanced, where possible. These measure include markers on the floor, posters, and audio messages. At stations where ticket offices remain open, we have additional social distancing measures in place, such as capacity restrictions and floor markers. At some stations, access to certain areas – such as waiting rooms – is restricted where we believe social distancing is not possible.
What are Northern doing to maximise social distancing on trains?
To help customers stay socially distanced, where possible, we have marked some seats on our trains and at stations as ‘Out of Use’ and laid tape to enable on-board staff to conduct their duties. As well as this we are using audio messages and have a series of notices displayed on our on-board digital screens.
What can I do to make sure I am social distancing on trains?
We have a number of measures in place on our trains to help customers socially distance, where possible. Some of our trains have seats marked as out of service – where they are in place, these restrictions should be followed. Where they are not in place, customers should do their best to observe the following rules, where possible;
Sit at a window seat
Leave at least two rows vacant between you and other passengers
Avoid facing other passengers not in your travel group
Use alternate sides of the train
Try to adhere to social distancing rules when getting on and off the train.
What happens if the train I want to travel on is already full?
Customers who choose to travel should do everything possible to maintain social distancing where possible. If a train is already busy when it arrives at a station, and there is nowhere to sit safely, customers should wait for the next service. Northern understands this may be frustrating, however social distancing restrictions means we are still currently running services with a significant reduction in capacity.
Is hand sanitiser available at stations and on trains?
On-board our trains and at stations, where facilities exist, there is soap and water available in our toilets for customers to follow NHS advice to wash their hands for 20 seconds. Hand sanitiser will not be provided on stations or on trains – where possible customers should carry their own.
What additional cleaning is being carried out?
We have a robust cleaning regime and employ more than 600 dedicated cleaning staff across the north of England who, at the moment, are supported by colleagues from elsewhere in the business. Every carriage that has been in service is given a thorough clean at the end of the night before being sent out the next day. We also have staff at stations who clear litter from our trains, clean surfaces, all touchpoints and toilets throughout the day to help keep them in the best possible condition for passengers.
We have started rolling out the use of Zoono, a long lasting, antimicrobial coating that bonds to surfaces, across our trains and at stations. This is understood to kill Coronavirus on contact.
Do I need to reserve a seat to travel on Northern services?
No, seat reservations are not available on our services and are not required to travel.
Have the opening times changed at my local station?
Some stations are now offering slightly different opening times to what you may be used to. Check before you travel on our station pages for up to date station opening times and information
What if I cannot board the last service of the day?
We will consider instances on a case by case basis. Customers left in an unstaffed station should call 0800 138 5560 and speak to a member of our customer experience team.
When is the best time to travel and are there any time to avoid?
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic we are operating amended timetables with significantly reduced capacity on our trains. Customer travel patterns have also changed, so trains which are usually quiet may now be busy and vice versa. As a result, customers should allow extra time for journeys, and buy tickets online, via the mobile app, or on smartcards. Customers should, where possible, avoid planning to travel on the last services of the day.
Do I need to wear a face covering on the train and in stations?
Yes, you will need to wear a face covering on our trains and in stations. Some people have exceptions from wearing face coverings, including children under 11, people with breathing difficulties and those with conditions or disabilities that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering. For further information, please see current government guidance here.
To find out how to make your own face covering click here.
What is a face covering?
At its very simplest, a face covering is something that covers your mouth and your nose, that minimises your ability to touch your face. Surgical facemasks, scarfs, homemade masks or material wraps are all perfectly acceptable. Remember that face coverings are additional measures to help you and those around you keep healthy, along with washing your hands and social distancing. Take a look at the government’s advice on face coverings if you are unsure about what to wear.
Will Northern provide a face mask for my journey?
No, please bring your own face covering.
Why are face coverings now compulsory?
Alongside social distancing, wearing a face covering helps make travelling by public transport safer for everyone during the coronavirus pandemic as it reduces the risk of onward transmission. You are helping to protect others by wearing a covering. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has identified that using face coverings [when travelling by public transport] can provide some small additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
What if I can’t wear a face covering for medical reasons or due to a disability?
You can still use public transport. We understand that not every disability is visible and will treat you with respect and offer the assistance you require. If you need any additional support, please let a member of staff, on the platform or the train, know about your issue and they’ll make sure you’re able to travel safely
How will this be enforced?
We expect our passengers will understand that these restrictions are in place for the safety of everyone. If you aren't wearing a face covering on board a train or at a station, you will be may be reminded by staff and British Transport Police, about the current regulations. If a you refuse to wear a face covering, you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice and have to pay a fine. British Transport Police also have the authority to refuse travel if necessary.
What’s the legal basis for this?
These regulations are being brought in through the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.
What should I do if I’m sitting in a carriage with someone who isn’t wearing a face covering?
There will be some staff and customers who will not be expected to wear a face covering due to health reasons. We expect that the vast majority of our passengers will want to follow the new government guidelines to keep themselves and others safe. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a covering, you should keep a safe distance from others where possible on board our trains or at stations. Some of our Northern colleagues may have reasons not to be wearing a face covering and some may choose to wear a badge explaining that they are an exception. Please respect our staff and your fellow passengers who may not be able to wear a face covering. We are asking all our customers not to challenge fellow passengers who aren’t wearing a face covering. They may have a valid reason for not wearing one, including hidden conditions that mean they are an exception.
If I have any concerns linked to face coverings who should I talk to?
If you have any concerns, please speak to a member of our team who will be happy to help. Please bear in mind, some people may not have to wear a face covering due to a hidden disability.
If face coverings are compulsory, do train operators have to supply them, or at least have them for sale, before they board?
No, please bring your own face covering. We are unable to supply face coverings to customers but have provided our staff with them, so please remember your own if you are travelling with us. Some larger stations may have vending machines where you can buy a face covering, however it is very important that plan in advance and bring your own.
Do children need to wear face coverings?
Children under 11 are not required to wear face coverings.
I have a hearing impairment and I rely on lip reading to understand what someone is saying, how will I be able to travel comfortably and communicate with your team?
We understand how challenging face coverings can make communicating with our staff when you have a hearing impairment. To help to overcome any problems you may have, our team have been asked to ensure they have a pen and paper as an alternative way of communicating.
I am in one of the groups that is exempt from wearing a face covering, how can I prove it when I travel?
An exemption card has been produced that can be printed or downloaded here and carried with you when you travel anywhere on the UK network. It is there for your peace of mind and by no means a requirement of travel.
I wear a sunflower lanyard to identify that I have a non-visible disability, will your staff recognise this and understand my reason for not wearing a face covering?
Here at Northern we have briefed our staff to recognise the Sunflower Lanyard scheme, understand its meaning and offer help, where appropriate, if they see someone wearing one.
Will you be checking customers' temperature before they travel?
We have no plans to check customers’ temperature, but please do not travel if you have a high temperature.
What do rail staff do to make sure people wear face coverings on trains?
Rail staff engage and educate customers about the mandatory use of face coverings when they travel by train and encourage people to wear them. The vast majority of people do the right thing and help protect others by bringing and wearing a face covering while in stations and on trains. Unless they have a good reason, those that don’t wear a face covering could receive a £100 fine from the British Transport Police.
Why are people allowed on my trains without a face covering?
Some people may not be able to wear a face covering due to medical conditions which may not always be apparent. Please do not confront other passengers. Anyone that isn’t exempt from wearing a face covering can get a £100 fine from the police or Transport for London enforcement officers.
Who can I speak to if I have a question that hasn’t been covered here?
Our Customer Experience Centre will be happy to help with any queries you may have, they can be contacted on 0800 200 6060. You can review the list of people who don’t need to wear a face covering here.
Can I refund my ticket?
We want our customers to be able to book with confidence. For a temporary period during the coronavirus outbreak, up to and including 30 April, we have made it as easy as possible for you to rearrange your travel plans after directly booking with us, including removing the standard £10 administration charge to change Anytime, Off-Peak and Advance booking. Click here for more information.
Can I refund my season ticket?
For more information on how to refund your season ticket click here
Can I refund my car park season ticket?
If you require a refund on your car park season ticket, please make contact with the company who the ticket was purchased from. You will then receive confirmation of the amount to be refund, and the process to be followed.
Can I refund my PlusBus season ticket?
You can claim a refund for an unused PlusBus season ticket, from us, if the ticket has been sold to you by Northern. If you bought the ticket from another service provider you will need to contact them directly for a refund. Tickets can be backdated 56 days from the date of refund request, if unused.
How do I get a refund if I've booked a Northern ticket through a third party retailer like the Trainline?
If you have bought a ticket from a third party retailer or another train operating company, please visit their website and check their updated refund policy. We are only able to process refunds on tickets that have been purchased directly from us.
Will I receive a refund or extension for my Railcard?
Northern has no control over Railcard policy, which is administered by the Department for Transport. This matter is currently under consideration by DfT, and we hope to bring customers more news on this shortly.
What will happen to my travel vouchers if I haven't been able to use them during coronavirus?
If you have a rail travel voucher and this is due to expire during Coronavirus please email us at email@example.com
Is it still possible to book assistance on and off the train?
Passenger Assistance can still be booked in the usual way through our team, they can be contacted on 0800 138 5560 (Text Relay 18001 0800 138 5560).
Are there still priority seats available on the train?
We have ensured that several priority seats have been retained, as with all seating, numbers are reduced but the seats are easily identified.
Are waiting rooms still available at stations?
Our waiting rooms are open at stations where social distancing and government restrictions allow. Please be aware other limitations may be in place in these areas. Some of our stations may still be unable to open waiting rooms at this moment in time. We are reviewing the situation regularly.
My station usually has toilets available, will these still be open?
Toilets will remain open and should have adequate hand washing facilities, if you notice that we are running low on supplies, please let us know.
How will I be kept safe while being assisted?
Northern colleagues will be wearing face coverings to protect customers, and may need to carry out assistance in a slightly different way, for example not travelling with customers in lifts. Rest assured we will do everything possible to ensure you reach your destination swiftly and safely.
If I book passenger assistance, will the conductor and/or platform staff still help me on and off the train?
Our team will be happy to assist you in your journey, please consider that services will have fewer seats available and allow longer for your journey just in case the train you are planning to travel on does not have space available.