Train companies giving passengers a better deal on compensation for delays
Rail passengers due compensation for delayed trains are benefitting from improved rights and new arrangements for getting their money back.
Train companies already pay compensation in cash and passengers can now be refunded by the same method they paid to travel if they wish.
The change is included in new National Rail Conditions of Travel which take effect today (Saturday 1 October) and is in line with the Consumer Rights Act which also comes into force today.
The new Conditions say:
- all customers are now entitled to receive cash, rather than rail travel vouchers;
- 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.
This means that payment might be by either cheque, a refund to a debit or credit card, vouchers which can be exchanged for cash, or bank transfer (usually referred to as a BACS payment).
The new Conditions of Travel replace the existing National Rail Conditions of Carriage and have been rewritten to make the information clearer and easier to understand. Most conditions are unchanged.
Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director, Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group, said:
“Train companies’ compensation arrangements already go beyond what is required under consumer law, and we want to give passengers an even better deal.
“We’re making claiming compensation simpler and clearer, and we have tried to make the Conditions of Travel as simple and easy to understand as possible too.
“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.”
Train companies have different arrangements according to their Passenger’s Charters, but in general passengers are entitled to compensation if delayed for 30 minutes.
Payment options, which will vary between train companies, will be shown when a claim is made.
Train operators are doing more to raise awareness of compensation available and to make claiming easier, including:
- A new National Rail Enquiries website ‘one stop shop’ 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 how to claim;
- More announcements and claim forms handed out on trains, more information and forms on social media, email and websites.
More information about claiming compensation for delays is here.