Now people who forget railcards will be let off by train companies and can claim money back from any penalty fares

Rebecca Smith
Some four million people in Britain have railcards
Some four million people in Britain have railcards (Source: Getty)

Got a railcard, but forgot to bring it on that one day you get stopped by a ticket inspector, so have to pay more?

Well, that problem has been addressed by a new rule change taking place across all train companies, so that people who end up shelling out extra after failing to show the necessary railcard will be guaranteed a refund on the first occasion in any year - as long as they can produce the railcard later.

Read more: Five ways to cut the price of your rail fare

Before these changes, anyone travelling on cheaper tickets bought with a railcard, had to carry it with them at all times to be certain of qualifying for its discount - the railcards save passengers at least a third on most rail fares. If they failed to do so, they could be asked to pay more or be given a penalty fare.

Now, Britain's four million railcard holders have a free pass if they make a mistake and get one golden chance a year to be refunded (as long as they can provide proof of the railcard as set out by the operator they travel with).

There are also plans to roll-out digital railcards so people can keep them on their phones, making them less likely to forget.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said:

Customers make honest mistakes sometimes, we think railcard holders should have one chance a year to be refunded if they’ve had to pay extra for forgetting theirs.

We’re planning digital railcards too that people can keep on smartphones and other devices if they prefer, making them harder to forget and easier to replace if lost or stolen.

Read more: 6,400 more trains to run each week by 2021 to crack "capacity crunch"

Rail minister Paul Maynard said: “The aim of the action plan is to provide a more modern, flexible and passenger-focused fares and ticketing system, one which takes advantage of all the benefits of new technology. Rail passengers must be able to trust that they are getting the best possible deal every time they travel.”

Related articles