‘Do more to compensate passengers’, watchdog tells rail industry

12 June 2018

Today Transport Focus sets out demands on behalf of passengers hit by rail timetable chaos.

The independent watchdog says existing compensation schemes don’t adequately reflect the difficulties experienced by passengers on Thameslink, Great Northern and Northern in recent weeks.

It has pressed industry to make clear how it will go beyond Delay Repay payouts to generously compensate passengers whose lives have been disrupted.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said:

“We’ve heard from people who have been unable to get into work, a heavily pregnant woman stuck on a coach for hours, someone unable to visit their elderly parent – all because they are unable to rely on the train.

“We want train companies to spell out, as soon as possible, how they will compensate those affected. Meanwhile we urge all passengers to claim what they can now and send a strong message to operators that this level of service is unacceptable.”

The watchdog is calling for:

– a lump-sum payable to season ticket holders to reflect the hardship experienced

– recognition of the impact on regular travellers who do not buy season tickets – for instance part-time workers who may not buy a season ticket or leisure/business passengers who make regular journeys. This could take the form of a number of free journeys.

– special offers/marketing deals designed to rebuild trust/confidence once services have returned to normal

– for Northern passengers, the adoption of a 15-minute delay ‘trigger’ rather than 30-minute.

The watchdog is working with train companies and the relevant authorities to get the best deal for passengers. Next week its Board will meet in public in Manchester to quiz the managing directors of Northern and TransPennine on the disruption – click here for more.

Notes to editors

 The watchdog has also produced a guide to claiming for delayed journeys. See our web page here plus three tips that could help you:

  • Keep hold of your used tickets – it is the simplest form of proof that you travelled. So if you are going through ticket gates ask the member of staff if you can keep hold of it. This can be especially useful if some form of retrospective ‘special’ compensation is offered and you need to prove that you travelled.
  • If you no longer have the ticket then do you have the receipt, or can you find proof via your bank statement or credit card statement, or if you have a smartcard then can you print out the journey history? These can often be used as evidence that you bought a ticket
  • Take a photo of the display boards at the station showing that your train was delayed or, if you have an app showing real-time train arrivals, take a screenshot of the details of your train. You should not need this – but if there is some form of dispute then having evidence really helps.
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