Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Rail passenger complaints: a day in the life

24 January 2018

Ever wondered how we help resolve rail passenger complaints?

Halima Khan, a senior passenger team advisor, has written about how she helps unsatisfied passengers resolve their disputes with train companies.

Passengers make millions of journeys every day across Great Britain’s railway. This means the complaints we receive can be quite varied - issues arising from delays, industrial action through to penalty fare notices - passengers want our help to resolve their case.

Currently, Halima and the team handle nearly 600 passenger cases each month, each different in nature, but all prioritised and investigated in a fair way. Every case is important - no matter how big or small - some even end up in court, which means time can be of the essence.

While there’s a process to handling passengers’ complaints, all sorts of things can happen that could speed it up or delay it. Halima may need to negotiate with the train company involved, or even escalate within the train company itself.

The team puts the best case forward to a train company, with the aim of getting the best possible outcome for the passenger, whether that be receiving compensation, policy changes, or just answers to questions. Transport Focus is not a regulatory body, so we can't force train operators to pay compensation, but we can use our influence.

The Transport Focus special Board meeting with Virgin Train West Coast and Great Western Railway shows what happens when complaints handling goes wrong. If the proper processes are not in place, passengers are left frustrated and inconvenienced waiting for a response or compensation they were entitled to.

Why not take a look at some case studies of passengers we’ve helped and information on how to take your rail complaint further.

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