DfT reveals Southern passengers to be paid a month’s compensation
Passengers on Southern Rail will be repaid the equivalent of a month’s worth of fares after a year of unprecedented disruption, the DfT has revealed.
Passengers who hold a season ticket will be eligible to claim against it and will receive the equivalent of four weeks of fares in compensation. Around 84,000 passengers are expected to be affected.
Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been at the bottom of the PPM table for two years, largely due to extensive delays on Southern because of strikes, track failures and infrastructure work at London Bridge.
Paul Maynard, the rail minister, said: “Getting Southern rail services back on track is a priority for the government and I know that what passengers want most is a reliable service. But when things do go wrong it is right that we compensate people who have not had the service that they deserve. This is a gesture in recognition of the problems people have faced.
“We’re working hard to get Network Rail and Southern to improve this network and get this railway working the way people expect. We are investing record amounts in improving our railways and we need everyone in the rail industry, including the unions, to work together to deliver for passengers.”
Maynard also announced that ‘Delay Repay 15’, where passengers are able to claim 25% of the cost of their fare if their train is delayed for 15-29 minutes, will be introduced on GTR on 11 December. It will then be introduced on the new South Western, West Midlands and South Eastern franchises.
In early January 2017, Southern will contact the passengers on its database who it believes are eligible for the one-month compensation package, and provide them with details of a web portal they can use to claim. Other passengers who believe they are eligible will be able to submit proof of purchase to be considered for compensation.
Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, said: “Our passengers have had to endure many months of disruption and misery due to industrial action and poor performance and for that I am truly sorry. While they have clearly been able to claim under our Delay Repay scheme, we welcome this additional compensation package.”
In October, the Transport Select Committee published a report condemning the DfT for a ‘woeful’ failure to properly assess GTR before it took over the Southern franchise in 2015.
Louise Ellman MP, chair of the committee, said: “Many Southern Railway passengers have been receiving an abysmal service for nearly 18 months. The government’s promise of enhanced compensation was made nearly six months ago. Today, at last, Southern and GTR passengers have received some good news on compensation. This is welcome, and long overdue.”
Yesterday, rail union RMT announced it is changing the dates of a guards’ strike planned for 22-24 December to 19-20, leading to accusations from Southern that it is co-ordinating the strikes with Aslef, which is leading drivers’ strikes on 13, 14 and 16 December and 9-14 January.
The compensation news comes on the same day that the rail industry revealed that train fares will, on average, increase by 2.3% from January 2017.
(Image c. Lauren Hurley from PA Wire and Press Association Images)
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