Belsize Village woman plans Railcard protest after refund denial

Siblings Ros and David Eisen are furious at a decision not to either refund Senior Railcards or offer customers extensions.

Siblings Ros and David Eisen are furious at a decision not to either refund Senior Railcards or offer customers extensions. - Credit: Ros Eisen

A Belsize Village woman is calling on rail bosses to reconsider the decision not to offer refunds to those who bought railcards during 2020 - and threatening to protest by using her expired card whenever train travel is possible again.

Ros Eisen has pointed out that many of those who own Senior Railcards for the over-60s have been classed as high-risk throughout much of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She told this newspaper she renewed her railcard in January but due to the ongoing pandemic, has not been able to use it.

In October 2020, the government and Railcard confirmed it would not be refunding customers - something Railcard repeated in answer to Ros' complaints. 

She said: "As a senior person who has been unable to travel, it's just an unfair decision. It's not really about the money coming back, but what they should have done is perhaps extend it."

Although Ros said it is the principle she cares about, she added: "It's just £30, but then for lots of people that's a lot of money.

"What I have been planning to do is continue using it even though it has expired, as a protest. It shouldn't come to that!"

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Ros' brother David shares her frustration. He agrees Railcard should offer customers extensions.

A Railcard spokesperson said: “After careful consideration, the government confirmed to us that Railcards will remain non-refundable and will not be extended."

They said refunds or extensions "would come at a significant cost to the taxpayer": "Refunding or extending Railcards for over 5.1m customers would come at a significant cost to the taxpayer at a time when the focus must be on maintaining rail services to support the country’s recovery from the pandemic.”  

When it first announced there would be no refunds of Railcards, a Department for Transport spokesperson said with revenue from fares having plummeted, "we must ensure we are fair to taxpayers and focus investment on maintaining services, to enable social distancing and support our economic recovery”.

Have you been unable to get a refund or extend a Senior Railcard? Contact Sam.Volpe@Archant.co.uk or write to letters@hamhigh.co.uk

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