Rail companies should do more to promote passengers’ refund and compensation rights

21 February 2014

In welcoming the report published today by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), Passenger Focus’s acting chief executive, David Sidebottom, said: 

“When trains are delayed or cancelled, it is important that passengers are made aware of their rights to a refund or compensation. It is of concern that as many as 75 per cent of rail passengers ‘do not know very much’ or ‘nothing at all’ about their rights. 

“ORR’s research chimes with our own1 which showed that as many as 88 per cent of those apparently eligible for compensation for their delay did not claim. The main reasons given were down to a lack of awareness. Of these, 44 per cent did not even think about it; 30 per cent think they were entitled; and 14 per cent knew they could claim but decided not to. Passengers say they think that making a claim will take too much time, is too complicated, or that they won’t get enough money back. 

“This is a problem that needs addressing. The top issues raised by passengers contacting Passenger Focus regularly include train delays, refund conditions and levels of compensation.

“ORR’s involvement in developing an industry code of practice is a positive step forward. One outcome should be that the whole industry becomes more proactive about communicating passengers’ rights to them when they need to know such as on the train when announcing the delay, at stations and on websites.  More fundamental changes to the compensation regime are needed including:

  • providing compensation in cash rather than vouchers
  • continuing the shift to Delay Repay from those companies that still operate the original scheme
  • introducing a ‘delay safety-net’ that protects season-ticket holders who suffer regular delays which are under the 30-minute Delay Repay threshold for compensation.

“New franchises also provide the opportunity to make improvements to the compensation regime and passenger awareness. We have been pressing for this in our work on forthcoming franchises.”



  1. Passenger Focus published Understanding rail passengers – delays and compensation in July 2013 This can be found at: (https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/media/f10bd81297bb9f5b3bd03b0db094ac202ee7577f/Understanding%20rail%20passengers%20-%20delays%20and%20compensation%20-%20FINAL.pdf)
  2. Our advice to passengers who have experienced delays or cancellations is here
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