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Not got your Travelcard refund yet? Make sure you do it this week

Oyster card holders with a partially unused Travelcard still have time to get a refund

James Manning

For most Londoners, life has got a lot less commutey of late. Remember the days of leaving the house to go to work? Great times. But since public transport is now strictly reserved for essential journeys, it’s likely that you aren’t using your Travelcard that much. The good news is that, yes, you can claim a refund from Transport for London – and it’ll be backdated to the last time you travelled. The bad news is that the deadline for claiming is very soon – and you might get a bit less than you expected. Let’s break it down.

Can I get a Travelcard refund because of social distancing?
If you’re not travelling because of the current situation, you can apply for a refund for your TfL season ticket (whether it’s a Travelcard or a Bus & Tram Pass), as long as it's linked to a registered Oyster card. Annual Travelcards must have had at least six weeks of validity remaining, and monthly cards seven days, as of the last day you travelled. You can also get a refund of any outstanding pay-as-you-go credit on your Oyster.

When is the deadline to get a Travelcard refund?
You’ll need to act fast: your application must go in within eight weeks of your last journey. Many commuters will have stopped travelling to work in the week leading up to the official UK lockdown on Monday March 23 – if that’s you then the eight-week deadline will fall this week.

How do I get a Travelcard refund?
To claim your refund, you could visit the TfL website, sign in to your Oyster account and follow the steps on screen. However, when we tried this route last week, our refund was declined and an incorrect refund amount was generated (whoops). We suggest calling up on 0343 222 1234 instead, so a friendly human can make sure your refund is processed correctly. Lines are open 8am-8pm every day.

How much will I get back from my Travelcard refund?
This is a bit tricky, because the refund isn’t processed pro rata. So if you have nine months out of a 12-month Travelcard remaining, you won’t get three quarters of the original cost back. Instead, you’ll get the full amount back minus whatever it would have cost you to buy monthly, weekly and daily Travelcards for your journey.

So if you bought an annual adult Travelcard for Zones 1-2 and only used it for three months, you should get back £1,027.90 – that’s the £1,444 you paid originally, minus £416.10 for the cost of three monthly Travelcards. (There’ll also be minor adjustments for any outstanding pay-as-you-go credit and your initial £5 Oyster admin fee, which TfL is kindly refunding.)

Once you’re done, your Oyster card will be totally deactivated. Then it can take up to two weeks for your refund to be processed.

Anything else I should know?
For further T&Cs and info – for instance, what to do if you bought your Travelcard via a rail company or with a loan – check out the TfL refund page. Happy refunding!

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