The number of rail passengers claiming compensation has almost trebled but is still less than half of those eligible and rail firms have ‘a long way to go’, the passenger watchdog has said.
A new survey of over 7,000 passengers by Transport Focus found that the number of eligible passengers claiming compensation has increased to 35% from 12% in 2013, with two thirds of train passengers eligible for compensation not claiming for their most recent delay.
Rail minister Paul Maynard
Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: ‘The rail industry has made some improvements in telling passengers what they are due after delays – but they still have a way to go. Another obstacle is the perceived effort involved in claiming.
‘The Government has lowered the Delay Repay level to 15 minutes starting on Southern services first. Train companies now need to do more to make it easier for passengers to claim.’
Transport Focus called on train operators to make the compensation process quicker and easier for passengers, to continue to promote how and when passengers can claim money back and to bring in more automatic compensation schemes.
It carried out the research in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
Rail minister Paul Maynard said: ‘We have been working with partners in the rail industry to ensure passengers are aware of their right to recompense for disruption and, at the same time, we are making the claim process simpler and swifter so that it is easier and more attractive to apply.’
The DfT also published its response following the ORR’s investigation of the super-complaint raised by consumer group Which? about existing compensation schemes.
It said ministers want to see the industry make rapid progress to improve the way passengers are made aware of their right to compensation and ‘empowered to make a claim’.
Stephanie Tobyn, the ORR’s deputy director, consumers, said: ‘While we’re pleased to see an increase in those claiming compensation, we expect train companies to continue their progress to enable the other two-thirds of eligible passengers get the compensation to which they’re entitled.
'In particular, more needs to be done to raise passengers’ awareness of their rights to delay compensation, the information they receive about it needs to be better, and the claims processes simpler.’