Staff Travel News

STAFF TRAVEL NEWS


THIS IS AN OUTLINE OF THE COVID-19 SITUATION FROM RAIL STAFF TRAVEL

Publication of the Summer 2020 restrictions

On Monday 11 May, the Government advised that everybody should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. You should instead choose to cycle, walk or drive, to minimise the number of people with whom you come into close contact.
With this in mind, travelling by train is for essential journeys only. Rail Staff Travel is unable to give any advice on what constitutes an essential journey.

Space on trains is being strictly controlled to maintain social distancing. Some TOCs require mandatory reservations for all journeys.

If you must make an essential journey by train then you should check with the TOC(s) you will be travelling with before starting your journey for any advance booking requirements.

Restrictions for Summer 2020 and delay to the summer timetable

The Rail Staff Travel Restrictions for Summer 2020 were prepared for the timetable which should have been implemented on 17 May 2020. These Rail Staff Travel Restrictions have been published on the RST website, even though the timetable change is delayed. The restrictions will come into effect when the timetable is launched.

When restrictions on leisure travel are eased later in the year please check this before travelling.

Supplementary restrictions on travel for Summer 2020 and mandatory reservation services

For the Train Operating Companies to manage social distancing there are some supplementary Rail Staff travel restrictions.
This also includes details of how to book reservations where operators require mandatory reservations to travel. Please note:

· if you have 1st class staff travel facilities, the TOC may not be able to provide a seat in 1st class accommodation.

· if you miss your booked train, the TOC can refuse you access to subsequent services if there is no space available.

These supplementary restrictions will be updated frequently over the next few weeks and months as changes occur.

These supplementary restrictions are published on the RST website. You should check for the latest version from the RST website before planning any journey.

The supplementary restrictions information relates to the use of Rail Staff Travel facilities. Where there are other national or local public requirements for travelling by rail, for instance a requirement to wear face coverings, then you need to check this with each TOC concerned.

Staff Travel Cards

2019/20 Staff Travel Cards are not being extended beyond the end of validity date of 30 June 2020. Any unused date boxes are not valid for travel after this date.

2020/21 Staff Travel Cards with a fresh allocation of date boxes have already been issued which are valid until 30 June 2021.

Priv discount on Oyster Cards

TfL have agreed that after 30 June if you have your 2019/20 Staff Travel Card and your 2020/21 Staff Travel Card and the same registered Oyster Card as last year, they can reset the Priv discount on your Oyster Card.

Social distancing is in place at stations so this process will take a little longer than usual.

TfL staff at the London Underground stations have been sent instructions on how to do this using the London Underground ticket machines. If they have difficulties setting the discount, or are unsure what to do, please ask them to check TfL Hot Issues Bulletin 20-20.

If you do not have your 2019/20 Staff Travel Card and 2020/21 Staff Travel Card, and the Oyster Card you used in the previous year you will need to submit a TfL Privilege Oyster Application (XX19) form card

FIP coupons – This only applies if you are eligible for these

We have not been issuing FIP Coupons as there have been travel restrictions in place across Europe. The Foreign Office are still advising against overseas travel at this time. However, as restrictions are lifted we hope to relaunch this service. We will update our website when we are able to accept new applications. Once this is available you will need to apply a minimum of three weeks before your intended date of travel.

Please bear in mind that we cannot accept the return of unused FIP coupons from any new applications requested from now so bear this in mind if you plan to apply.

Moving house?

Please remember that if you change your home address, you must let Rail Staff Travel know as well as RPMI. This ensures that you continue to get your Staff Travel Card each year delivered to the correct address.

Due to Data Protection regulations, we are not able to share your address data with RPMI.

Help all retired employees receive news from Rail Staff Travel

E-mail is the quickest way for us to keep everyone informed of Rail Staff Travel issues.

If you have friends also in receipt of Rail Staff Travel facilities who have not received this e-mail, please encourage them to provide their e-mail to Rail Staff Travel.

Any retired employee can submit the XX12 form which is available HERE.

From the Rail Delivery Group by email –  26th May 2020


Publication of the Summer 2020 restrictions

The Summer Restrictions 2020 have been published even though the timetable change has not yet taken place. The restrictions will come into effect as soon as the timetable change is implemented later this year.

There is also an additional document – Supplementary Staff Travel Restrictions for Summer 2020 – produced in response to the Covid 19 Outbreak. These additional restrictions are effective immediately and will be updated regularly as social distancing requirements change.

You can find both documents on the Where Can I Go and Restrictions page.

As a reminder, on 11 May 2020 the Government advised that travel by rail is for essential journeys only. This includes people using staff travel facilities.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  22nd May 2020


TOC Priv Card renamed Rail Staff Leisure Card

The TOC Priv Card is being renamed the Rail Staff Leisure Card. Its function is unchanged and it will be valid until 30 June 2021. It can still be used to purchase discounted Anytime and Off Peak tickets for leisure travel, and also get discounts on some Rover and Ranger products.

New Rail Staff Leisure Cards for 2020/21 (to replace your current TOC Priv Card 2019/20) will be posted to home addresses during the 3rd week in June.

  • If you have changed home address recently and have not informed Rail Staff Travel, please submit a Change of Address (XX15) form which you can find here. This will reduce any delay in you receiving the cards for you and your eligible partner and dependents.
  • If you have an outstanding Child Declaration your child will not receive a card. You can submit it using a Child Declaration (XX05) form which you can find here.

Rail Staff Travel has started work on being able to issue Rail Staff Leisure Cards as an ITSO smartcard with an integrated photograph, hopefully from June 2021 onwards. If you do not already have a staff travel product issued by Rail Staff Travel which has your photograph, you can upload photographs for you and your eligible family members using our Photo Upload

From the Rail Delivery Group –  7th May 2020


Keeping in touch with retired employees

In this time when travel is restricted, Rail Staff Travel are keen to be able to provide updates to retired employees. The only cost-effective way we can do this is by e-mail.

If you think we do not have your e-mail address and would like to register it with us, or have recently changed any of your contact details, please submit a Retired Data Check (XX12) form which you can find on this Forms page.

Please share this information with any colleagues or friends who may benefit.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  4th May 2020


Staff Travel Card renewal for 2020/21 – updated 17 April

The Staff Travel Cards for Safeguarded Staff and Dependents valid from 1 April 2020 until 30 June 2021 will be posted out by Royal Mail starting on Wednesday 18 March 2020. Please allow at least three weeks for delivery.

If you have not received your Staff Travel Card by Monday 4 May, please contact Rail Staff Travel by e-mail at rst@raildeliverygroup.com. Due to travel restrictions on the RST team, our phone lines are currently closed. You can only contact us by e-mail.

If you have received your Staff Travel Card, but some are missing for dependent children, then the most likely reason is that you have not completed a child declaration. You can find the XX05 form for this on our forms page. Once a child declaration is received, we will send out Staff Travel Cards, but this is likely to take longer than usual.

Update 2 April. As the post appears to be taking longer than usual to arrive, the date above for notifying Rail Staff Travel has been changed from 1 April to 8 April.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  2nd April 2020


Unnecessary travel during the Covid-19 emergency

The UK Government has agreed to the implementation of a reduced rail timetable during the Covid-19 emergency period. This will ensure that key workers are still able to travel and essential travel is possible.

These train services offer the opportunity for key workers to travel with the necessary social distancing at stations and on board trains to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

You must not travel by train unless you are a key worker or your journey is absolutely necessary. This means that you should not be making any leisure journeys by train at this time.

You must stay away from railway stations to ensure that stations are kept clear. This will reduce the risk of spreading the infection to key workers, TOC and Network Rail employees.

If you require more information then the following organisations have published information which you can find here:

UK Government: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
Scottish Government: www.gov.scot/news/people-advised-to-limit-social-contact/
National Rail: www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/coronavirus.aspx?
Transport for London: tfl.gov.uk

This ban on unnecessary travel and congregating at stations remains in force until further notice.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  23rd March  2020


Temporary changes to refunds of priv rate and reduced rate season tickets

To enable employees to get priv discounted and Reduced Rate Season Ticket refunds quickly during the Covid-19 outbreak, the requirement for RST to authorise refunds is temporarily suspended.

Employees should take unwanted paper or smartcard season tickets back to the station they purchased it from for a refund without authorisation. Alternatively, individual TOCs may have arrangements for you to submit season tickets by post. Refunds will not be processed unless the original ticket is handed over to the TOC. Scans of tickets are not acceptable.

All Train Operating Companies have been issued with a briefing to make their Ticket Office employees aware of the temporary change in process.

This temporary arrangement remains in force until 30 June 2020. After this date, refunds of priv rate and reduced rate season tickets will only be possible by submitting the season tickets to Rail Staff Travel for refund authorisation.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  23rd March  2020


Temporary suspension of child dependent earnings limit

The Scheme Rules allow dependent children in full time education to undertake employment providing it does not exceed the weekly income limit (currently £141.40). During vacations they may undertake periods of temporary employment irrespective of earnings, providing that the period does not exceed 3 months.

As schools and universities are closing during the Covid-19 outbreak, we are relaxing the child dependent earnings limit until 30 September 2020. This will enable young people to undertake work which assists the economy and their neighbours without putting their dependent Rail Staff Travel facilities at risk.

If you are completing a Child Declaration XX05 form and your child falls into Eligibility Code 1 but

Is not attending education due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and;
Is working and earning over the weekly income limit of £141.40,

then you should still declare eligibility code 1 but there is no need to supply pay slips.

Please note that this relaxation of the weekly income limit does not apply to those dependents who fall into eligibility codes 2 to 5.

From 1 October 2020, the child weekly earnings limits will be re-instated. From this date, if your child exceeds this weekly income limit, then they lose eligibility for their Rail Staff Travel facilities, and you must return them immediately by signed for delivery to Rail Staff Travel.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  23rd March  2020


Map updates

A new map has been published on the Where Can I Go and Restrictions page:

Staff Travel Card Map – London area including London Underground interavailable routes

In response to feedback, new versions of the following maps have been released:

Gold and Silver Status Pass Map – London area including London Underground interavailable routes
Blue Status Pass Map – Southern Region – London area including London Underground interavailable routes
Blue Status Pass Map – Western Region – London area including London Underground interavailable routes

From the Rail Delivery Group –  5th March  2020

Cancelling travel plans due to the Coronavirus outbreak

If you have already ordered FIP Coupons from your 2020 allocation and cancel your current travel plans because of the Coronavirus outbreak and wish to delay your travel until later in 2020, then:

if your coupons have been sent to you (usually around 2 weeks before your travel date), you can return these to Rail Staff Travel so that you may apply for replacement coupons later this year.
if your coupons have not been sent to you, you can contact us to cancel your order. This will enable you to apply for them later in the year.

When you return FIP coupons to Rail Staff Travel, you must send them by signed for delivery. We will not be able to replace the coupons later in the year if we do not receive them. You should also contact us by phone or e-mail to let us know that you are sending coupons back to us.

If you have purchased FIP discounted tickets for your trip from a Travel Agent, then you should contact that Travel Agent to see what refund options are available.

FIP coupons from your 2019 allocation cannot be returned to Rail Staff Travel.

This temporary cancellation facility has been put in place because of the likely disruption to travel during this global Coronavirus pandemic. Once travel arrangements return to normal, then the facility to return coupons to RST will be withdrawn.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  26th February 2020

FIP coupons and the International Reduced Rate Card after Brexit

Rail Staff Travel is a member of FIP, an association within the UIC (International Union of Railways). This membership of FIP enables RST to issue FIP facilities (FIP coupons and the International Reduced Rate Card) on a reciprocal basis with the other FIP association members.

The RST membership of FIP is entirely unconnected to the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. The FIP facilities currently enjoyed by active and retired staff, partners and dependents will continue after Brexit when the United Kingdom is no longer a member state of the European Union.

There is no change to this news item since it was first published on 18 September 2018. It has just been moved to the top of this news page as the withdrawal is now imminent.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  27th January 2020

Gold and Silver Status Passes – January 2020 update

Both the Gold Status Pass and Silver Status Pass are issued as SmartCards are expected to operate the gates at Smart-enabled stations.

The roll-out of Smart-enabled gates is nearly completed. The only TOC where the gates are not yet enabled is MerseyRail. There may also be one or two other stations on other TOCs where the roll-out is not yet finished.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  16th January 2020

FIP adjacent carriers rule

An FIP regulation states that If a coupon has been part-used on a carrier adjoining or bordering the country of issue, it may not be used again for any further journeys on this carrier after a return journey has been made to the country of issue. For many years the definition of the carriers adjoining or bordering Britain has listed SNCF, SNCB, NS, NIR, and CIE (France, Belgium, Holland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland).

The definition of the carriers adjoining or bordering Britain has been amended and now only lists EIL (Eurostar), StL (Stena Line – North Sea) and SLL (Stena Line – Irish Sea).

Coupons issued for travel on SNCF, SNCB, NS, NIR, CIE which are part-used may be used after the return journey has been made to Britain (providing they are still within the 3 month period of validity, and there are unused date boxes).

This is effective from the date of publication of this notice.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  7th January 2020

Change of FIP identity for the Railways of North Macedonia

From 1 January 2020 the FIP identity of MŽ-T Makedonski Železnici Transport (Macedonian Passenger Railways) is being renamed ŽRSM Železnici na Republika Severna Makedonija (Railways of the Republic of North Macedonia).

RST will issue coupons showing ŽRSM where the outward travel date is 1 January 2020 or later.

FIP International Reduced Rate Cards issued by RST which show a discount is available on MŽ-T services will continue to be valid for a discount in North Macedonia until these cards are renewed in December 2020.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  2nd December 2019

Staff Travel Restrictions for Winter 2019-20

The Staff Travel Restrictions for Winter 2019-20 valid from 15 December 2019 to 16 May 2020 have been published on the Where Can I Go and Restrictions page.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  29th November 2019

Change of FIP identity

From 1 January 2020, we are changing our FIP identity from ATOC/GBPR to GB National Rail.

FIP International Reduced Rate Cards were last issued by RST in December 2018 to cover 2019 and 2020. These are branded with ATOC/GBPR and will not be updated until the main renewal of all cards scheduled for December 2020. They remain valid for discounted travel on all FIP member services during 2020.

FIP Coupons issued by RST for travel on or after 1 January 2020 will be changed to show GB National Rail.

All FIP members have been briefed about this change, so there should be no issues with ticket inspection in Europe by staff working for FIP members.

FIP International Reduced Rate Cards and Coupons issued by the 42 FIP members will be updated starting from 1 January 2020. However, this update is likely to take around 2 years for all members to complete, so visitors to Britain using FIP facilities may still present some which show ATOC/GBPR, and these remain valid on TOC services in Britain.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  28th November 2019

Applying for FIP coupons from your 2019 allocation

You are able to apply for unused coupons from your 2019 allocation to use up to 31 March 2020. All applications must be received by RST by no later than 15th December.

When you fill in the International Coupons Application forms XX09c or XX09b, RST will only take the coupons from your 2019 allocation if you put the outward date of travel as 31 December 2019 (even if your actual travel date is not until a date in 2020).

Where an application has coupons for more than one FIP member, if any are not available from your 2019 allocation RST will take them automatically from your 2020 allocation.

Coupons from your 2019 allocation have a final travel date of 31 March 2020, even if there are spare boxes left or the last date entered is 31 March 2020. They are not valid for any travel from 1 April 2020 onwards.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  25th November 2019

Gold and Silver Status Passes – West Midlands Trains update

Both the Gold Status Pass and Silver Status Pass have been issued as SmartCards are expected to operate the gates at Smart-enabled stations.

As the roll-out of Smart-enabled gates across the national network continues additional stations will be enabled that will allow holders to operate the gates using their Status Pass. The current situation is that the majority of London in-boundary TOC stations should be Smart-enabled allowing the Status Passes to operate. In addition, gates at outboundary stations on Greater Anglia, c2c, Southeastern, South Western Railway, Northern, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), East Midlands Trains, Chiltern, Great Western Railway (GWR), Transport for Wales (TfW) and West Midlands Trains (WMT) stations will operate with further TOCs being enabled over the next few months.

A definitive list of stations that are Smart-enabled is not currently available as this list changes frequently.

Please remember that you can still use your Status Pass as a “Show and Go” Pass at all valid locations that are not currently Smart-enabled.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  5th November 2019

Buying FIP discounted tickets and reservations for SNCF services

From 1 January 2020, FIP ticket sales and reservations for all SNCF TGV and Intercités services within France and some international TGV services operated solely by SNCF will no longer be available to travel agents. This change affects all rail staff in Europe, not just those in Britain.

SNCF offer FIP fares and reservations at SNCF ticket office counters in France or from their French contact centre which is open 7 days a week from 7am to 10pm (French local time).

The telephone number for the SNCF contact centre is 00 33 1 84 94 3635 (international call rates apply). The SNCF website shows the typical busy times when call wait times are extended www.sncf.com/en/service-client nous-contacter/telephone

The contact centre phone introduction is in French and lists various options. If you remain silent, at the end of the introduction it will say “For this service in English press #85”. Entering #85 on your phone will connect you to an English-speaking operator.

To save a lengthy and expensive phone call, please check the latest version of our Travel Tips for Europe guide before you call them. It is best to have planned your journeys and know the specific train services you want to book before you call. Remember that FIP facilities are not available on Ouigo or Intercités 100% Eco services. These low cost operators sell tickets through their own website only, and fares may be cheaper than the FIP discounted fares on equivalent SNCF services. The SNCF contact centre is unable to quote or sell you fares on Ouigo or Intercités 100% Eco services.

To make a booking, you will need to quote the FIP International Reduced Rate Card numbers for every person in your group to the SNCF agent. We have no information on the SNCF contact centre transaction fees or ticket delivery options.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  18th October 2019

Buying FIP discounted tickets in France for Eurostar services

From 9 November 2019 it will no longer be possible to book FIP discounted tickets at SNCF ticket offices in France. Eurostar have put in place alternative arrangements which are described in the Eurostar Leisure Fares documents on our Current Offers and Concessions page.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  14th October 2019

Changes to the availability of upgrades on Eurostar services

Eurostar has confirmed today that it has changed its policy on upgrades on staff discounted fares. Holders of Standard Class Staff Travel Cards or 2nd class FIP cards will not be permitted to purchase discounted tickets for travel in Standard Premier accommodation. Upgrades for holders of discounted Standard class tickets to Standard Premier accommodation will also not be permitted.

This arrangement is effective for tickets purchased, or upgrades sought, from 3rd September. For tickets already purchased for future travel, these will be honoured with no requirement to pay any additional sum.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  3rd September 2019

Booking Caledonian Sleeper tickets and berths at Virgin Trains stations

We have had confirmation from Virgin Trains that the technical issue with their ticket office machines has been resolved, and that all Virgin Trains ticket offices are now able to book staff travel facilities on Caledonian Sleeper services.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  30th August 2019

NSB rebranded as Vy

On 24 April 2019, NSB – Norges Statsbaner (Norwegian State Railways) was rebranded Vy.

From 1 January 2020 the FIP identity will be Vy Group. RST systems and documentation will be updated from this date and FIP coupons issued for Norway will reflect the new branding.

Until 1 January 2020 NSB coupons and FIP cards endorsed for discounted tickets remain valid on Vy rail services as they did before the rebranding.

FIP reduced rate cards issued to employees and dependents in Britain which are valid until 31 December 2020 will not be updated with the new identity until the next major renewal in December 2020. The NSB endorsement will be accepted for the purchase of discounted tickets on Vy services during 2020.

There has been some confusion about the availability of FIP facilities on Regiontog and Lokaltog trains in the Oslo area. Vy Group has confirmed today that FIP facilities are valid on all regional services in the Oslo area operated by Vy including those which serve the airport.

We remind you that FIP facilities are not valid on the Flytoget Airport Express to and from Oslo Airport. They are also not valid from Oslo Airport on the long distance Trondheim to Oslo service which stops to set down only at the Airport station.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  23rd August 2019

Taunton to Bishops Lydeard service

There are no staff travel facilities available on the summer Saturdays only services which are provided jointly by GWR and West Somerset Railway between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard. All staff must pay the public ticket cost.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  23rd August 2019

Plym Valley Railway

We are now able to confirm that, from 1 August 2019, on presentation of a TOC Priv Card or Staff Travel Card, priv rate tickets may be purchased on Plym Valley Railway services. Priv rate tickets are available on all normal running days, but will not be available on special event days or on North Pole Express services.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  29th July 2019

Rail Staff Travel on Grand Central

We are now able to confirm that Rail Staff Travel facilities are available for use on Grand Central services between London and Sunderland and also London and Bradford.

From the Rail Delivery Group –  1st July 2019