Rail firm Southeastern has launched an improved compensation scheme under which passengers can claim for delays from 15 minutes upwards.
Previously Southeastern passengers could only claim compensation for delays of 30 minutes or more. As with the previous scheme, passengers will be refunded a proportion of their fare.
Southeastern would prefer its trains to keep to time
The firm said its website has been upgraded to reduce the number of steps needed to complete the online form by using information on previous claims and regular journeys. This reflects criticism that rail firms are asking for unnecessary information.
Managing director David Statham said: ‘I don’t want any of our passengers to be delayed, but if they are it’s really important that we compensate them properly and in good time.’
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP said: ‘With the launch of DR15 on Southeastern, nearly 90% of passenger journeys on franchises we manage are now covered by the scheme. This means faster, more convenient compensation, and a better deal for passengers with more people now able claim if their services are delayed.'
As Transport Network has reported, the DfT expects new rail franchises to provide Delay Repay 15 but has had to compensate existing franchise holders for doing so.
The DfT has extended incumbent Govia’s franchise until at least April under what is technically a new contract. This means that the cost of Delay Repay 15 will have been priced into the contract, possibly through a reduction in Govia’s premiums.
Watchdog Transport Focus pointed out that its research found just 35% of eligible passengers claimed compensation and said it is ‘now important that Southeastern actively encourages passengers to claim and make it quick and easy to do so’.