Delayed train customers now set to claim cash compensation

trainThere might be some good news on the cards for disgruntled rail passengers, who might soon be able to get cool hard cash out of train companies in compensation for lateness.

Currently, if a train is 30 minutes late (or more) customers can claim compensation from the train company responsible under the delay repay scheme. Every company will have a slightly different process for claiming, but helpfully National Rail has a list of all charters and how to claim delay repay from each operator on its website.

There are even places willing to help you make your claim. Which!!! have a template letter you can use, or there are sites like Delay Repay Sniper who, for a monthly fee, will monitor the lateness of your chosen trains and advise you if there’s a claim to be made or, for a larger monthly fee, will claim online on your behalf.

But rail companies are not daft, and currently do not provide cash refunds, but instead issue national rail vouchers which can be used to purchase another ticket that are valid for 12 months from date of issue. Vouchers issued by one rail company are valid for payment to another company. However, Which!!! are now claiming that a policy change expected to come into force in the summer will see people being able to claim cash instead of vouchers for their inconvenience. So we can all spend it on junk food to keep us going while waiting for our delayed train.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: “There is much to do to, particularly to ensure that more trains arrive punctually and we keep passengers better informed when disruption occurs, but good value fares and a focus on improving services are attracting more people to travel by train."

“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.”

Executive director of Which!!! Richard Lloyd 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.”

However, Which!!!’s next crusade may be to lower the 30 minute minimum claim period necessary to make a claim. According to figures collected by Which!!!, January 2015 data for the Brighton to London service run by the Southern train company showed that 52% of the 3,466 trains operated were late. However, the 30 minute rule means that delayed passengers could only claim against 59 of these journeys. Good luck with that one lads.

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