Transport User Voice December 2023 – Rail delays and compensation

29 November 2023

Claim rates on the up

The number of passengers claiming the compensation they are owed has significantly increased.

Transport Focus’s latest survey of almost 5000 passengers found that number of passengers claiming compensation has increased from 37 per cent in 2020 to 47 per cent in 2023.

Working with the Department for Transport, Transport Focus updated its research on the findings of the 2020 research that assessed the tendency of passengers to claim compensation when they are delayed.

The research explored passengers’ awareness of their eligibility to claim and their experiences when claiming. We also asked passengers the reasons why they did not to claim for compensation when they are delayed. This update comes amid increased disruption across the railway with strikes, cancellations and adverse weather affecting travel.

Are passengers claiming for delays?

The proportion of eligible passengers who have claimed compensation has increased significantly since the 2020 research to 47 per cent (a ten per cent increase). This contrasts with the 2020 research where the claim rate had increased by only two per cent over the previous rate in 2018.

The proportion of passengers claiming compensation for a delay of 30 minutes or longer has significantly increased by eight per cent – from 46 per cent in 2020 to 54 per cent in 2023.

Passengers continue to be less likely to claim for shorter delays than for longer delays. However, the proportion of passengers claiming compensation for a delay of 15-29 minutes has also significantly increased in the past three years from 22 per cent in 2020 to 35 per cent in 2023, up 13 per cent.

Why some passengers don’t claim for compensation

Forty-seven per cent of the ‘aware but did not claim’ passengers did so because they believed it was not worth bothering for the amount they would get back. This was a small decrease from 2020 (51 per cent). The other main reason for not claiming was the belief that it would take too much time, mentioned by just under one-in-five (18 per cent).

Overall we saw increases across the board on most passengers’ awareness that they could claim for delays and disruptions – a positive step forward. We’ll be using this research to continue talking to train operators about how that can be made easier and quicker for passengers to claim for disrupted journey and services.

Room for improvement

There’s still room for improvement with more than half of passengers with eligible delays are still not claiming the compensation they are entitled to and nearly a quarter still didn’t think they could claim. As well as improving awareness the other key barrier to tackle is the sense that it’s not worth bothering for the amount you’d get back. The best solution to making the claims process easier and quicker is more automation. This means paying the money directly into your account or ‘one-click’ compensation where passengers are prompted to simply confirm their claim with all the details pre-populated.

The railway’s focus must always be on running trains on time, but when it doesn’t do this making sure passengers know they can easily claim compensation can help build trust between passengers and the train company.


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