UK industry watchdog, Transport Focus says that rail passengers have been urged to claim compensation for every delay they suffer after missing out on an estimated £100 million in payouts last year. It said passengers should send a message to train operators that reliability must keep improving by claiming their full entitlement. Research by the rail industry has suggested train operators have been reluctant to advertise passengers' rights to compensation, with 82 per cent of delayed passengers entitled to a payout saying they did not hear any announcement on the train or at the station informing them they could make a claim.
Chief executive of Transport Focus, Anthony Smith has launched a campaign to encourage more passengers to claim. He said, "Too many rail passengers miss out on compensation for late-running trains. When things go wrong train operators must ensure every eligible passenger knows about Deplay Repay and how to claim. They must also do more to make it easy to claim and autommate this process wherever possible."
The group's research for the Department for Transport found only 35 per cent of eligible passengers claimed compensation in 2017-18, with a total of £18mn paid out. Smith said, "To make their voice heard passengers must claim every time." Many passengers are failing to claim for short delays, where they would only receive a smaller payment.
While 39 per cent of passengers claimed for delays exceeding 30 minutes, only 18 per cent claimed for delays of 15 minutes. Transport Focus has calculated that a total of £100mn goes unclaimed each year. It said companies should put more automated compensation schemes in place, taking the responsibility to claim from passengers. The industry body the Rail Delivery Group said, "We want passengers to get the compensation they're entitled to. Train companies have helped to increase compensation payments by 80 over the last two years."
Darren Shirley, the chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport said, "When things go wrong too many (passengers) are missing out on compensation due to complex systems or a lack of information on how to claim. Ultimately, the reliability and punctuality of train services have to improve."