Passengers got £4.7m in compensation over late Greater Anglia trains
- Credit: Archant
Greater Anglia paid out more than £4.7m to passengers whose trains were late or cancelled under their Delay Repay scheme during the financial year 2019/20.
The figures cover the period from April 2019 to March 2020, so only cover the first two weeks of the lockdown that saw passenger numbers fall dramatically.
This compares to a figure of £4.2m in Delay Repay compensation during the previous year, 2018/9.
Although it does not include most of the lockdown – during which time the trains which did run were operating at very high levels of reliability – it does cover the winter of 2019/20 when there were serious problems associated with the introduction of the new Stadler Bimode trains on rural and cross-country routes.
Many trains were cancelled and others were delayed as there had to be checks because of questions over how the new trains operated with the signalling systems and software glitches.
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Eventually it was found that the new trains did not have problems with the signals and the software glitches were overcome – they are now operating with good reliability figures.
Most of the delay repay costs come from delays to Intercity and suburban trains used by commuters who can get an automatic refund on their ticket prices if their trains are significantly delayed.
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A Greater Anglia spokeswoman said: “We strive to provide a punctual and reliable service for all of our customers. However, if a customer is delayed, we want them to receive the delay repay compensation they are entitled to.
“We have made it as efficient as possible to claim. In 2018, we introduced a faster compensation system which remembers the customer’s details, season ticket information and refund preferences. The online claim form is easier to use and is one click from our home page.
“In April 2019 we introduced delay repay payments for customers who were delayed by 15 minutes.
“Customers can opt to have their compensation paid straight back into their bank account via BACS. Refunds are given via credit/debit card, Paypal or via BACS. There is also an option to donate to Samaritans while making a claim, which has helped raise thousands of pounds, and was introduced following customer feedback.
“We are working to improve punctuality and reliability across our network and last month over 95% of our trains ran on time. Over the last six months, services on the Great Eastern Mainline services averaged 97.0% punctuality and Norwich – London intercity services and regional services (across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire) averaged 95.4%.”
Department for Transport (DfT) data shows rail firms paid out £89.4 million in compensation during the 2019/20 financial year, up from £79.0 million during the previous 12 months.
Jacqueline Starr, chief operating officer at industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: “This data shows that more passengers are getting the compensation they’re entitled to, following train operators’ work to proactively notify people when they can claim.
“Train companies are continuing to raise awareness of Delay Repay through train announcements, email reminders and Facebook Messenger, while making the process easier with one-click and automatic compensation for delays of just 15 minutes.”
Meanwhile official rail watchdog Transport Focus said a survey they completed of 11,000 passengers in the spring showed only 37% of travellers entitled to a payout made a claim for their most recent delay. This is up two percentage points from research carried out in 2018.
More than half (51%) of passengers who did not claim the compensation they were entitled to said it was “not worth bothering for the amount I’d get back”, while 11% said “the process was too complicated”.