Rail passengers “not aware” of compensation

LONG WAIT Batley Railway Station
LONG WAIT Batley Railway Station

Rail companies operating in north Kirklees have defended their record of giving passengers compensation for delayed or cancelled trains.

A report from the Office for Rail Regulation last week highlighted that about 75 percent of rail passengers are not aware of their rights to compensation for delayed or cancelled journeys.

Both Northern Rail and First TransPennine Express, which run services through Dewsbury, Batley and Mirfield train stations say they believe they are doing enough to make passengers aware of possible compensation.

Darren Higgins, director at First TransPennine Express said: “Information on train service performance is publicised at stations we call at and on our website and clearly indicates when a season ticket refund day or charter discount is due.

“When services are disrupted we collect the names and addresses of all affected customers whilst they are on board and write to them notifying them of the compensation available and how to claim it. In the last three years we have contacted nearly 10,000 customers through this scheme.”

While compensation schemes vary with each company, the minimum a rail user is entitled to is 20 percent of the price paid for a single ticket on a journey that is at least one hour late to a destination.

A Northern Rail spokeswoman said: “Our customers can find out about compensation for their journey by contacting our customer relations department, speaking to our colleagues at stations and on-board our trains, on our website and in our passenger charter.

“We process compensation claims for delays and cancellations in line with our passenger charter and each customer experience is evaluated individually.”

Reporter Series reader Adam Boswell said: “It’s a catch 22. If more people claim, the prices will go up and people will still travel on the rail network as they have no alternative.”

Cleckheaton-based rail expert Alec Suchi believes problems with railways could be down to the capacity of trains running on lines in West Yorkshire.

He said: “You used to have trains that were 15 to 20 carriages long but they are now shorter and more frequent now. Some of the lines are now running to full capacity.

“I think if we had trains with more carriages running at peak times, that might help.”

For more information on how you can claim for a delayed or cancelled rail journey, visit www.passengerfocus.org.uk.