Why is it still a pain to claim for train delays? Half train firms don’t automatically compensate passengers despite introduction of Delay Repay four years ago
- Only around half of the 17 franchises offer automatic Delay Repay at present
- Greater Anglia and ScotRail have not yet signed up
- Southeastern is not introducing it until at least the end of the year
Train companies stand accused of dragging their feet over delay payouts after it emerged around half still don’t automatically compensate their passengers.
One-Click Delay Repay was unveiled by ministers four years ago to speed up the millions of claims logged every year.
It means passengers who have bought advance tickets, or who use pre-pay smartcards — where you tap in and out at stations — are sent an email with a link to claim their cash.
Train delays: Your right to compensation kicks in if you are delayed by more than 15 minutes
Your right to compensation kicks in if you are delayed by more than 15 minutes. If your train is an hour late, you are reimbursed the whole price of a single ticket.
But Money Mail has found many rail firms are still insisting customers complete fiddly forms.
Only around half of the 17 franchises offer automatic Delay Repay at present, according to the Department for Transport. Around 250million journeys were made last year with four of the biggest firms which have not yet signed up.
These include Greater Anglia and ScotRail, while Southeastern is not introducing it until at least the end of the year. Great Western Railway is only now preparing a ‘phased’ system of one-click refunds.
Where there is no automatic Delay Repay, passengers are informed about their entitlement via posters in stations or public announcements. They must then track down an online or paper form.
Passengers are typically asked to provide personal information, an email address, travel details, the length of delay and sometimes even the purpose of their journey.
They must upload a copy of the ticket online or staple it to a paper form, and sometimes include a ticket’s reference number.
By contrast, London North Eastern Railway (LNER), which runs trains from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh, has offered One-Click Delay Repay for three years. Passengers can click to choose a bank transfer or donate the money to charity.
The form is automatically filled in, although passengers have to provide bank details the first time, which are then saved.
Automatic repayment schemes have also been launched by Caledonian Sleeper, Chiltern Railways, Govia Thameslink Railway and South Western Railway. There are no plans to extend the service to third-party ticket sellers such as Trainline.
Retired City of London accountant David Bigg, 75, chairman of Witham and Braintree Rail Users’ Association, in Essex, says: ‘It’s quite a chore to claim compensation and a lot of people frankly don’t bother.’
Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham and member of the Transport Select Committee, adds: ‘If LNER have been able to do it for three years, there’s absolutely no excuse for any other operator.’
Meanwhile, campaigner Baroness Altmann has called for automatic compensation to be extended, so passengers without access to emails or smartphone apps can benefit too.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia says: ‘We have reduced the number of mandatory questions and revised the layout of the form.’
The Department for Transport says the future launch of new industry body Great British Railways ‘will create a single, national compensation system which will ensure all passengers receive the same straightforward claims process’.