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'Cash compensation' for rail delays

Fed up passengers who suffer rail delays will soon be able to receive cash compensation instead of vouchers.

As things currently stand, while travellers can make claims for trains are 30 minutes late, rail companies only offer vouchers in return.

But a policy change expected to come into force in the summer will see people being able to claim cash.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: "Planned changes to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage will enable passengers to claim their compensation in cash, instead of rail vouchers.

"This will be a welcome move for passengers."

The move is a major change, as the current voucher system has been in operation for a number of years.

In February this year, it was revealed that frustrated rail passengers were claiming for only a fraction of the journeys on which they had been delayed.

Train delay monitoring group, Delay Repay Sniper, also said there were fears that the number of passengers claiming compensation for delayed trains they were not actually travelling would grow.

Its figures for January 2015 for the Brighton to London services run by the Southern train company, for example, showed that as many as 52% of the 3,466 trains operated were late.

Yet, under the 30-minute rule, passengers could only claim compensation for 59 of the journeys.

Delay Repay Sniper technical adviser Lee Fortnam said it did condone fraudulent claims, but added that it could be that passengers who had been delayed five minutes on Monday, five minutes on Tuesday, 10 minutes on Wednesday and 10 minutes on Thursday would be tempted to put in for a 30-minute claim for a service they did not use.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: " Our latest train survey showed that people are dissatisfied with the service provided by many of the operators, and it's little wonder when three in ten people suffered a delay when they last travelled.

"As ticket prices continue to rocket, train operators must do more to improve levels of satisfaction and to inform people of their right to a refund as a result of delays."

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