Latest Rail News

19.01.16

Poor compensation

Why can’t rail travel vouchers (given as compensation by operators after delays) be used online?

Only about a quarter of tickets are actually bought at station ticket offices these days, more and more are bought online and at automated ticket machines.

But rail travel vouchers, which are supposed to offer some acknowledgement and recompense for a customer’s inconvenienced journey, are stuck in the 20th century.

Some operators allow them to be used via telesales – but you are then obliged to post them (via recorded delivery) to the operator.

If you are trying to use the vouchers to buy an Advance ticket, some station ticket offices do not even allow you to do that at peak times (even if the station is actually completely empty, as it was last time I tried to do this – the chap behind the desk offered a sympathetic laugh at the situation).

I have now wasted more time trying to use my travel vouchers than I actually lost through the original delay, having abandoned an online booking when it became clear I could not use them, wasted time on the phone only to hear that I would have to make a trip to the post office and spend money posting them off somewhere, and wasted time on a visit to my local station.

I bought the original ticket for my badly delayed train online, I claimed compensation online – how hard would it be to allow rail travel vouchers to be used for online bookings?

Top image, credit: Tom Burridge, who amassed more than £1,000 in vouchers

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