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Rail passengers made to wait for compensation payouts

Which? said public trust in train travel has fallen to 20%, the lowest since it launched its consumer insight tracker in 2012.

Train companies are expected to process compensation applications within one month under the terms of their operating licence (Nick Potts/PA)
Train companies are expected to process compensation applications within one month under the terms of their operating licence (Nick Potts/PA)

Train passengers who made more than 220,000 compensation applications for delayed journeys were forced to wait more than a month for their claims to be resolved, figures show.

One in 20 of the 4.2 million claims dealt with between April 1 last year and January 5 was not processed within 20 working days, Office of Rail and Road (ORR) data revealed.

Alex Hayman, managing director of public markets at consumer group Which?, said: “It is unacceptable that train companies have left people making almost a quarter of a million compensation claims waiting more than a month to get a resolution.”

Trust in the rail industry is worryingly low Which?

He claimed this is “piling further hassle and stress on passengers” who have already suffered from severe delays and unreliability.

Mr Hayman added: “It’s little wonder trust in the rail industry is worryingly low.

“The Rail Review must ensure that automatic compensation is introduced across the network so that passengers can have their claims resolved quickly and no longer have to jump through hoops to get the money they are owed.”

Former British Airways chief executive Keith Williams is carrying out a wide-ranging Government-commissioned review of the railways.

Which? said public trust in train travel has fallen to 20%, the lowest since it launched its consumer insight tracker in 2012.

Robert Nisbet, regional director of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We know that services on some routes weren’t good enough last year and, working together, rail companies are determined to improve punctuality and tackle delays across the country.

“Train companies want to make it simple and easy for customers to claim compensation if they’ve experienced a delay.

“Half of the franchises managed by the Department for Transport (DfT) pay compensation after 15 minutes and some operators have introduced automatic refunds, helping claims to increase by 80% over the last two years.”

A DfT spokesman said: “Our absolute priority is delivering the reliable services passengers deserve, and when things go wrong people must be compensated fairly and quickly.”

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