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Train delay compensation needs ‘shake-up’, says watchdog

PASSENGER watchdog Transport Focus says passengers often find it too difficult to claim compensation if their train is late or cancelled.

It is launching a publicity campaign today using cinema advertisements, station posters and social media to explain that compensation is available, often after a delay of just 15 minutes, although this is not yet universal.

The watchdog is calling for a new website, ‘quicker and easier’ claim processes, more automated compensation and for all TOCs to offer Delay Repay 15.

New research also published today describes the ‘complicated and lengthy claims processes’ of many train operating companies. A survey of more than 2000 people found that on average only three out of 10 passengers were told by the operator that they could claim for poor performance.

The standards vary widely, however. Virgin Trains was credited with alerting 60 per cent of passengers affected by delays, while Transport for Wales was at the other end of the table, with a score of 16 per cent, or fewer than two passengers in 10.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: ‘Too often passengers are left in the dark about their right to claim compensation on a delayed train. It’s about time it was made easier for passengers to get what they are entitled to.

‘Despite the promise of “one-click” compensation only nine train operators currently pay out some form of automated compensation for delays and cancellations.

‘It’s vital that train operators actively encourage passengers to claim, making it quick, easy and automated as soon as possible.’

The Rail Delivery Group responded by pointing out that the standards of compensation arrangements are improving.

The RDG’s Robert Nisbet said: ‘We want passengers to get the compensation they’re entitled to and the industry is working together to encourage more people to claim and make the process easier. More train operators are offering automatic compensation and raising awareness of Delay Repay with announcements on trains, notifications on Facebook messenger and email reminders.’

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