Revealed: Abellio Greater Anglia paid £2.3m in delay compensation last year
- Credit: Archant
There was a £900,000 increase in the amount paid to delayed passengers in just one year – from £1.4m in 2013/14 to £2.3m in 2014/15.
The data, released under Freedom of Information laws, revealed that in total the rail operator has paid out £5,389,000 since it took over the franchise in February 2012.
But rail bosses insist that improvements will be made to tackle delays, with more than £170m set to be pumped into improving services which operate throughout Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and parts of London.
A spokesman from Abellio Greater Anglia said: “We apologise to passengers who have experienced delays on our services.
“The increase in compensation paid out reflects both increased disruption in the 2014/15 year – predominantly due to severe weather, fatalities and problems suffered by Network Rail with infrastructure faults and over-running engineering work – and a deliberate effort to make it easier for passengers to claim.
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“We have continued to promote the ways in which passengers can claim delay repay compensation, to make the process more transparent, and earlier this year we launched an online delay repay scheme for season ticket holders.”
Greater Anglia has announced plans to pump £35m into revamping 40 trains with new seat covers, better lighting and a new deep cleaning process on trains running through Ipswich and north Essex, as well as new lighting, carpets and tables on intercity trains.
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Network Rail has announced a £170m plan this year to upgrade the line between London and Norwich, as part of the Government’s Norwich in 90 and Ipswich in 60 scheme.
The company has also been operating a high output ballast cleaner since January this year, which renews crushed rock on which the track and sleepers are laid to help prevent track defects which can cause delays.
A spokesman from Network Rail said: “We are investing around £170m this year on the line between London and Norwich to give passengers a more reliable and consistent service. We will continue to work closely with Abellio Greater Anglia to do all we can to improve performance across the region.”
The spokesman added that vital upgrades had already been carried out in Colchester, Witham and Marks Tey to install new track and points.
Rail minister Claire Perry has welcomed the measures to help customers claim delay compensation, but believes more needs to be done to tackle the problems.
“If customers are hit by significant delays, it is only right that they get the compensation they are entitled to,” she said.
“I have been clear with the rail industry that it must make it easier for people to claim, and I am pleased to see that these measures are working and that more people are successfully claiming.
“Our record levels of investment in the railways, along with our ambitious plans for the next East Anglia franchise, will provide better journeys for hard-working passengers in the region, but Abellio Greater Anglia and Network Rail must work together to improve performance and keep disruption to a minimum.”