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‘More to be done’ than compulsory compensation announcements

Train companies could be forced to inform passengers as soon as they are entitled to compensation for delays, the rail minister has said.

However, Campaign for Better Transport said that Paul Maynard’s proposals did not go far enough.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Paul Maynard said he is considering a number of options for increasing the number of passengers who receive compensation, including requiring train companies to inform passengers of the compensation process after delays of more than 30 minutes.

“I have been clear from day one that I want to make sure train operators put passenger interests first, and not just the convenience of the industry,” he said.

Maynard also said he wanted to test “a range of options” to see which had “most impact”, with other options including staff handing out claim forms when passengers leave the train.

The minister has made clear since his appointment that he views a fairer and more transparent ticketing system as a key priority.

Lianna Etkind, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Compulsory announcements when passengers are entitled to compensation would be a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot more could be done to make claiming compensation simple and straightforward.

“For many passengers, it’s not so much that they don't know they’re entitled to compensation, it’s that the process of claiming it is a hassle.”

An Office of Rail and Road (ORR) report in response to a super-complaint by consumer rights group Which? found that around 80% of passengers do not claim compensation they are entitled to.

Etkind called for an ambitious programme of reforms, including on-train announcements after 15 minutes, standard compensation arrangements across all services, online claims and automatic reimbursement for passengers using smart tickets.

The latest monthly PPM figures show all train companies but one experiencing an increase in delays.

From 1 October, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 will apply to rail services. This will entitle passengers to statutory redress if train companies “fail to provide a passenger service with reasonable care and skill”, which Etkind said applied to the quality of the service, not just punctuality.

“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?” she said. “We will be working with passengers to press for answers.”

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Jerry Alderson   28/09/2016 at 20:45

TOCs have claimed that certain faciltities are complimentary and therefore not a committment so there is no entitlement to a refund. A good example is food and drink in First Class. That doesn't wash with me. I would not pay for First Class on a long-distance train unless it gave me free food and drink (or the ticket was cheaper than standard, which occasionally it is!).

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