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Welcome improvements but more to be done to improve rail delay compensation claim rates

Transport Focus

2 min read Partner content

The proportion of passengers claiming compensation for delayed rail journeys has risen but is still less than half of all those eligible, new figures show.

A survey of more than 11,000 passengers carried out between March and April 2020 by Transport Focus on behalf of the Department for Transport, found that 37 per cent of passengers eligible for compensation claimed for their most recent delay.

The research shows that, prior to widespread travel habit changes resulting from Covid-19 lockdown measures, nearly half (46 per cent) of passengers eligible under Delay Repay 30 claimed for their most recent delay. This was significantly higher than the percentage who claimed under Delay Repay 15 (22 per cent).

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“This research shows that, while train operators have improved, there is still a way to go to make it easier for passengers to claim and more aware of the compensation they are entitled to.

“While delay compensation has been less of an issue during lockdown, improving reliability, and a simpler, more automated claims process for when things do go wrong can help increase confidence in the railway as passengers return in future.”

The research found:

  • 37 per cent of passengers claimed for their most recent delay (up from 2018 by two percentage points)
  • 46 per cent of passengers eligible under Delay Repay 30 claimed (seven percentage points increase on 2018)
  • 22 per cent eligible under Delay Repay 15 claimed (four percentage points increase on 2018)
  • 51 per cent of eligible passengers that chose not to claim didn’t think it was worth bothering for the amount they would get back.

Following recommendations from Transport Focus’s Make Delay Pay campaign we are pleased to see some improvements in the process. Subject to an Office of Rail and Road consultation, announcements about compensation during delays on board trains and at stations could become a licence condition for operators along with efforts to simplify the claim process.


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