Rail bosses make cash blunder - again

RED-FACED rail bosses last night admitted they had accidentally paid hundreds of thousands of pounds into commuters' accounts – for the second month running.

RED-FACED rail bosses last night admitted they had accidentally paid hundreds of thousands of pounds into commuters' accounts – for the second month running.

Train operator One was forced to apologise again after members of the company's Commuter Club saw the money they normally pay out each month for rail travel actually paid into their accounts instead.

The latest error follows a similar incident last month when the club's 1,200 members, who pay a monthly fee by direct debit, had a pleasant surprise when they found that their account balances had gone up instead of down.

At that time the train operator apologised for the inconvenience and assured commuters that the mistake had been rectified and the payments retrieved.


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But yesterday the East Anglian Daily Times learned that the same error had happened again and that it could have potentially cost the company up to £500,000.

David Bigg, chairman of the Witham and Braintree Rail User Association, said: "I don't know what they're playing at. This latest mistake doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

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"They need to come up with an incentive for regular commuters as quickly as possible because at the moment it seems to be total confusion.

"Don't get me wrong, some moves have been very positive – the compensation offered to commuters for delays of an hour and a half or more is one example - but there have also been a catalogue of mistakes.

"The company just doesn't appear to have got its act together in respect of customer needs."

Derek Langslow, chairman for the East of England Rail Passengers Committee, said: "I have to admit that I am not aware of this particular issue but I'm sure that it can happen if someone presses the wrong button."

The One Anglia Commuter Club is designed for rail users travelling on a daily basis.

It gives members a monthly pass for unlimited journeys on Intercity services between their "home" station and London's Liverpool Street.

Membership is designed to provide an "affordable and convenient" alternative to monthly season tickets. An open ticket between Ipswich station and Liverpool Street costs £350 a month.

A spokesperson for One apologised for the inconvenience caused to commuters and pledged to stop the mistake happening again.

"Unfortunately we can confirm that the error in the system that we had last time has occurred again," she added.

"We apologise that the mistake has happened and are taking action to prevent it in the future.

"It was a human error and we thought that measures had been taken to prevent the mistake happening again but obviously this latest incident is evidence that what they weren't enough.

"The accounts department are now trying to put extra procedures in place so that customers will be debited instead of credited in the future."

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