The transport watchdog has launched a campaign to encourage more rail passengers to claim compensation for delays as currently only one in three do so.
Transport Focus also called for train operators to make the compensation process quicker and easier, with choices about how passengers make a claim and receive the payment, including the option to donate this to charity.
Manchester Victoria Station
Launching its Make Delay Pay campaign, chief executive Anthony Smith said: ‘Too many rail passengers miss out on compensation for late running trains. When things go wrong train operators must ensure every eligible passenger knows about Delay Repay and how to claim.
‘They must also do more to make it easy to claim and automate this process wherever possible. To make their voice heard passengers must claim every time.’
Transport focus said that 35% of passengers claimed a total of £81m compensation in 2017-18, as much as £100m remains unclaimed from train operators every year.
Only 18% of passengers claimed for delays of 15 minutes or more, with 39% claiming for delays for 30 minutes or more.
In fact, the £81m figure represents compensation actually paid out by train companies. Data published by the Office of Rail and Road shows that one in six claims are rejected.
As Transport Network has reported, rail firms received over half a billion pounds in compensation from Network Rail in 2017/18 for disruption caused by the track operator.
As well as encouraging passengers to claim, Transport Focus is calling for train operators to make the process quicker and easier and to do more to promote how and when passengers can claim money back for every delayed journey, including making announcements on trains.
It also said there should be more automated compensation schemes, so passengers do not have to claim in the first place.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said the £81m in compensation represented an increase of 80% in from 2015/16 to 17/18, ‘supported by automatic refunds, train and station announcements and awareness raising campaigns’.
Robert Nisbet, the RDG’s director of nations and regions, said: ‘We want passengers to get the compensation they’re entitled to and train companies have helped to increase compensation payments by 80% over the last two years.
‘Working together, we’re sending personal alerts through Facebook, making more station announcements, and more train operators are offering one click or automatic compensation.’