Latest Rail News

04.10.16

Campaigners to ‘press for answers’ about new powers to claim refunds

Passengers will receive better compensation when train journeys are delayed after new measures came into force on 1 October, but campaigners have

The Consumer Rights Act now applies to rail after the government cancelled plans to postpone its introduction in the sector.

Under the terms of the Act, consumers have a right to redress when a service is not provided “with reasonable care and skill”, and information provided to a consumer before making a purchase, whether oral or in writing, is binding where the consumer relies on it.

Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport (CBT), said: “Too often, passengers pay high fares yet receive overcrowded, uncomfortable and sometimes downright inadequate service. It’s no wonder that so few passengers claim compensation at the moment – it’s poorly publicised and the process is a hassle.”

Etkind added that under the terms of the Act, passengers are now entitled to compensation for poor quality service as well as delays. However, CBT said it was “unclear” how far the Act would apply to train journey quality in practice.

It said an “early test” could be passengers seeking compensation for repeated delays, such as those which have blighted Southern services this year.

Etkind said: “How much compensation will passengers be able to claim when the there is no working toilet on board, when there are no seats available or the promised wifi is not working? We will be working with passengers to press for answers so that more passengers get proper redress when train companies let them down.”

CBT also called for a number of other reforms to the passenger compensation process. It backed rail minister Paul Maynard’s recent suggestion that train companies should inform passengers via on-board announcements when they are entitled to compensation.

The CBT said passengers should receive compensation after a 15 minute delay, following a commitment by the government in last year’s Autumn Statement, instead of the 30 minutes that Maynard proposed.

Last year, consumer rights group Which? made a super-complaint to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) about compensation to passengers for delays. The resulting report found that around 80% of passengers do not claim compensation due to a lack of awareness about their rights.

Separately, National Rail Conditions of Travel came into force, which mean that passengers are entitled to compensation in the form of cash, not vouchers, and where the train operator is at fault, customers are entitled to repayment by the same method by which they paid, unless they prefer an alternative offer.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said: “Train companies’ compensation arrangements already go beyond what is required under consumer law, and we want to give passengers an even better deal.

“Passengers will be advised clearly of their right to compensation. Every train operator will comply with the Consumer Rights Act, including offering compensation by the method the passenger bought a ticket.”

The RDG said the industry is introducing a number of measures to make claiming compensation easier. These will include a new National Rail Enquiries website giving passengers full information and links to claim forms for every train operator, more social media alerts during disruption informing passengers of what they are entitled to, and more announcements and claim forms handed out on trains.

Furthermore, CBT said passengers using smart tickets or online bookings should receive automatic compensation. It also recommended setting targets for a greater percentage of the delay compensation Network Rail pays to train operators to pass on to passengers.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said the Consumer Rights Act was “a welcome evolution”.

(Image c. AdamKR)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >