Appointment of Rail Ombudsman to rule on passenger complaints
18 July 2018
Following the announcement that Dispute Resolution Ombudsman has been appointed to run the new Rail Ombudsman Scheme, Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of independent passenger watchdog Transport Focus said today,
“The introduction of free, binding and independent dispute resolution for some rail complaints is welcome – it is something we have called for over many years.
“This change will drive improvements in the speed and quality of complaints handling, building on the good work we have done successfully over the years.
“We will continue to deal with many issues raised by passengers that fall outside the remit of the Scheme.
“We would expect to see all operators join the Scheme and will monitor its operation closely to make sure it really works for passengers.”
Transport Focus has worked closely with Rail Delivery Group to support the process to set up a Rail Ombudsman that will provide binding dispute resolution for the industry. It has been heavily engaged in planning for the Scheme, to ensure that the passenger voice is represented and that the Scheme builds on the successful mediation that Transport Focus has provided to passengers for many years.
The passenger watchdog will continue to deal with many issues raised by passengers that fall outside the remit of the Scheme. It will also continue to work on many issues that affect rail passengers and will fulfill an important role providing feedback to the industry and government on good practice arising from Ombudsman cases.
The need for the Scheme is reflected in the number of complaints. Latest published data for Transport Focus complaint handling to March 2018 can be found (from p11) in the most recent Annual Report 2017-18. Complaint handling was at record levels over that period and levels since the start of the current reporting year appear set to be higher, driven partly by the impact of the timetable crisis.