Transport User Voice – Case Study

23 November 2017

Mr L was travelling from Edale to Lincoln Central via Sheffield with Northern. He bought his ticket from the ticket office three days before travelling. At this time he wasn’t warned that there were strikes taking place that may have affected his return journey.

Mr L lives in an area that has very limited phone and internet signal which meant he only became aware of disruption on the day of travel. As there are no buses that run through the area the only option Mr L had was to take a taxi to Sheffield which cost him an extra £40.

Mr L complained to Northern stating that had he been advised of the strikes when he purchased the tickets he could have made alternative arrangements or travelled on a different day. Northern declined Mr L’s request for a refund on the basis that information regarding the strikes was publicised across a number of sources, such as the television and social media.

Mr L was unhappy with this response as he was completely unaware of the strikes and was not informed of them when he purchased his tickets. This is when he contacted Transport Focus for assistance in his complaint.

We felt that Northern could have shown more discretion under the circumstances. The tickets were purchased from Lincoln, so it was in fact East Midland Trains staff that did not inform him of the strikes. We still felt that Northern should have taken into account the fact Mr L was not fully informed at the point of purchase, lives in a remote area and has limited access to the internet and alternative transport.

Transport Focus appealed to Northern on Mr L’s behalf and we were pleased that it agreed to offer Mr L a refund of his taxi fare. We also contacted East Midlands Trains with regards to the fact that staff did not inform Mr L of the strikes. It was sympathetic with Mr L’s case and kindly agreed to offer him £47 in rail vouchers to cover the full cost of the tickets.

Mr L received a total of £87 in compensation which was over and above what he was due. We are pleased that both operators took some responsibility for this and contributed compensation towards the additional expenses Mr L incurred. Mr L was very pleased with this outcome and thanked Transport Focus for our work on his behalf.

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