Watchdog calls for 'shake up' of rail passenger compensation
Passengers still find it too difficult to claim rail compensation, finds the independent transport watchdog, Transport Focus.
New research released today finds that many train operators still have complicated and lengthy claims processes and need to do much more to alert passengers to their right to compensation.
To increase the awareness of compensation Transport Focus’s Make Delay Pay campaign will run across rail station billboards, cinema and social media, encouraging people to claim the money they are entitled to.
A new survey of over 2000 people found just 3 in 10 of those surveyed were alerted by train operators that they could claim compensation for delays and cancellations.
Being alerted to compensation varied widely by train operating company; from 60 per cent being made aware when travelling on Virgin Trains (now Avanti West Coast) to 16 per cent travelling on Transport for Wales.
The report finds proposed schemes including a wallet function that allows smaller payments to accumulate and be redeemed at a later point, or the option to ‘swap’ compensation for complimentary tickets, would encourage more passengers to claim.
Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:
“Too often passengers are left in the dark about their right to claim compensation on a delayed train. It’s about time it was made easier for passengers to get what they are entitled to.
“Despite the promise of ‘one-click’ compensation only nine train operators currently pay out some form of automated compensation for delays and cancellations.
“It’s vital that train operators actively encourage passengers to claim, making it quick, easy and automated as soon as possible.”
Transport Focus research found just 35 per cent of passengers who were eligible claimed compensation for their journey. Tens of millions in compensation remains unclaimed from train operators every year.
Transport Focus is calling for:
- a national website portal for co-ordinating claims to standardise and simplify the process for passengers
- quicker and easier compensation process for passengers, with more choices about how they make a claim and receive the payment
- more automated compensation, so passengers don’t have to fill in a claim in the first place, and for the Government to name a date on when every passenger will be able to get ‘one-click’ compensation
- for every train company to offer Delay Repay 15 to bring consistency to compensation across the network.
Transport Focus’s Make Delay Pay campaign will continue to raise passenger awareness of compensation for delayed and cancelled train journeys, persuade more rail users to claim what they are entitled to and ensure train operators streamline the claims process.