Awards, contracts & appointments

12.07.18

Northern passengers to receive special compensation after May timetable chaos

Source: Article by Callum Wood of Rail Technology Magazine

Northern Rail passengers will have access to a special compensation scheme as a result of the May timetable changes, although details about who will be entitled to refunds are yet to be confirmed.

The scheme, announced by the rail minister, was welcomed by the operator's managing director, David Brown.

He said: “We believe that this is the best way to say sorry for the unacceptable situation and for the disruption and inconvenience many passengers have faced. We have been working hard with Network Rail and the DfT to develop this scheme to help customers who have suffered in these exceptional circumstances.

"There is still a lot of work to be done. We are now looking at the finer details of the scheme and will announce further details as soon as possible."

Northern already offers the Delay Repay scheme for those who face cancellations or delays of 30 minutes or more. But to further help customers, it has agreed with other TOCs that passengers with tickets to travel on Northern will be able to board services provided by other operators if they are unable to complete their journey as expected. This flexibility will be in place until 29 July. 

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, welcomed the additional compensation announcement, but reinforced the need for a more expansive Delay Repay scheme.

“Rail passengers in the north of England have suffered months of cancellations and delays followed by the chaos of the May timetable change. While services have now stabilised, punctuality remains unacceptable and passengers will still be feeling raw," Smith continued.

“While compensation is vital, it’s no substitute for the restoration of a full, reliable service as promised from the end of July. Since punctuality remains poor under the temporary timetable, we continue to press Northern and TransPennine Express to reduce the trigger for delay compensation from 30 to 15 minutes.”

Today's news comes just a few days after Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) confirmed that it has agreed a special compensation scheme with the DfT for those most severely affected by the May timetable disruptions. Money will be paid to qualifying season ticket-holders according to the level of disruption on Thameslink and Great Northern services.

The refunds will be equivalent to the cost of one week or four weeks' worth of rail travel, depending on the disruption faced and subject to qualifying criteria. This will be funded "by the rail industry," not just by GTR.

Full details of this scheme will be available soon, including a full list of qualifying stations, eligibility details and claims advice.

GTR chief operating officer Nick Brown said: “I am deeply sorry for the disruption which the rail industry is working very hard to fix. This compensation is offered in addition to our usual Delay Repay compensation for journey delays of 15 minutes or more and enhanced compensation for season tickets holders. We will shortly provide full details of the industry compensation scheme including eligibility criteria and claims advice.”

Top image: Alvey and Towers

 

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