Phil MeekinView Profile
Earlier this month, new plans from the government were announced regarding compensation for late trains. The new plans will see rail passengers now able to claim compensation for delays of 15 minutes or longer.
Currently, you can only claim if a service is delayed by 30 minutes or longer. Further changes on how and when to claim will see 100% compensation received for delays of between 60 and 119 minutes on a single fare ticket.
The new thresholds for ticket compensation will be: 25% for 15 to 29 minute delays (single fare), 50% for 30 to 59 minute delays (single fare), 100% for 60 to 119 minute delays (single fare) and 100% for delays of two hours or more (single fare and return).
These new plans, from the Department for Transport, have been met with support by passenger and rail groups. They are set to come into force initially on Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) in the next few months before expanding to other train networks around the country.
After launching on Govia, the scheme will be expanded starting with any new South Western, South Eastern and West Midlands franchises. It will cover all English rail services eventually and it will also include journeys which cross into Scotland and Wales.
After months of disruption and strike action, these new measures will tackle the problems with Southern railway in its initial phase as Southern are owned by GTR. Transport secretary Chris Grayling spoke to the BBC about the proposals which he sees as a major improvement for passengers; “Together with the Consumer Rights Act, this policy shows we are putting passengers first and making sure they receive due compensation for poor service,”
It is thought by many, including transport watchdog Transport Focus, to help go a long way in building up trust with passengers which has been lost. However Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, defended the current complaints procedure.
They said; “We know that every minute counts for passengers and we understand the argument for wanting to start the compensation clock ticking earlier… Train companies are paying out more in compensation for delays… A new nationwide campaign to raise awareness starts next week.”
The Department for Transport confirmed that all future rail franchises will be required to introduce this new compensation policy. They are also exploring the viability of rolling out this new policy during this current parliament to get it in place as soon as possible and help to improve rail services across the country.
Rail services in the UK have come under increasing scrutiny over the past few years for inadequate trains, poor services, regular delays and many strikes in the South. These new measures are aimed to improve services and the experience for passengers by compensating them and fining the train companies for poor service and long waits.