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GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY: Passengers miss out on £100m compensation

Patrick Christys
Jul 22, 2019

Rail passengers missed out on more than £100m in compensation after not claiming when their trains were late or cancelled.

The staggering figure has been released by Transport Focus, the UK industry watchdog, has called on commuters to get a move on and claim their refunds to teach tardy rail firms a lesson.

The fact is, rail companies don't exactly advertise the fact that refunds are on offer, or how to get them, so loads of inconvenienced travellers don't end up claiming the money that's rightfully theirs.

It's scandalous that these big rail firms don't have more automatic refund policies - relying on customers, especially the elderly, to go online and ferret around for the refund section is bang out of order. It's a rip-off.

But until that changes, make sure you go on to the relevant train company's website and find their refund section - stop letting them get away with it! They've got enough money!

Research by the rail industry has suggested train operators have been reluctant to advertise passengers’ right to compensation, with 82% of delayed passengers entitled to a payout saying they did not hear any announcement on the train or at the station informing them they could make a claim.

Launching a campaign to encourage more passengers to claim, Anthony Smith, the chief executive of Transport Focus, told The Guardian: “Too many rail passengers miss out on compensation for late-running trains. When things go wrong train operators must ensure every eligible passenger knows about Delay Repay and how to claim. They must also do more to make it easy to claim and automate this process wherever possible.”

Transport Focus research for the Department for Transport found only 35% of eligible passengers claimed compensation in 2017-18, with a total of £81m paid out.

Smith added: “To make their voice heard passengers must claim every time.”

Many passengers are failing to claim for short delays, where they would only receive a smaller payment. While 39% of passengers claimed for delays exceeding 30 minutes, only 18% claimed for delays of 15 minutes. In total, about £100m goes unclaimed each year, Transport Focus has calculated.

Darren Shirley, the chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “When things go wrong too many [passengers] are missing out on compensation due to complex systems or a lack of information on how to claim. Ultimately, the reliability and punctuality of train services have to improve.”


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