The Consumer Rights Act (CRA) will apply in full to all transport services, including mainline rail passenger services, from next month, allowing passengers to challenge the amount of compensation they are offered by rail companies.
In a letter to Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Commons Transport Committee, rail minister Paul Maynard said that the Government will not extend the exemption from the CRA for the rail industry, which is due to expire on 1 October.
Rail minister Paul Maynard
Coverage under the Act will give consumers stronger and standardised rights to compensation when trains are delayed or cancelled.
Ministers had laid a statutory instrument before Parliament to delay full implementation of the Act for another year but this has now been withdrawn.
In his letter, Mr Maynard said the Government ‘is now of the view that rail customers should not be denied any consumer rights or protections even for a temporary period while the rail industry works to put in place more consistent compensation arrangements between train operators’.
He stressed that existing schemes would continue to be available and ‘will remain the main means for redress for customers when things go wrong’.
‘The Government is committed to strengthening the standard compensation schemes that operators offer, including completing the roll-out of Delay Repay with our industry partners,’ the minister added.
Alex Neill, director of policy and campaigns at consumer group Which?, said the announcement was ‘great news for passengers’.
‘Any further exemption would have seen rights for rail passengers delayed for another year, so we are pleased that the new rail minister is committed to putting passengers first,’ he said.
Which? called for train companies to ensure that they are fully compliant with the new rules when they come into force.