We were excited to hear that Southeastern could be planning to make changes to the Delay Repay scheme from 1 October – perhaps, at last, Delay-Repay compensation that starts after 15 minutes delay rather than 30 minutes?
Apparently not. Southeastern have told us that the changes from 1 October relate to how the existing Delay Repay scheme can be paid. Southeastern will be giving more details shortly, but the current choice of payment methods will be expanded to:
- Bank account transfer
- Cashable voucher
- Credit/debit card refund
- e-vouchers (which can be banked and offset against the cost of future tickets)
That’s good progress, and we welcome it. Direct payment into bank accounts and refund to credit cards also help solve the issue with existing vouchers of tight time limits and bureaucracy when converting them into cash at ticket offices.
We also welcome the change, made quietly at the beginning of June, to the basis of the season ticket calculation. Compensation is now based on the assumption that annual season ticket holders make 464 single journeys a year, rather than 546 previously. We’d earlier pointed out how poor Southeastern’s formula was compared to other train companies, and the new formula is as good or better than all but one other companies – although still short of what Chiltern Railway customers get.
But what has happened to compensation for 15 minute delays? After all, the 2015 Autumn Spending Review promised that rail passengers would soon have access to compensation when trains are more than 15 minutes late. That would make a big difference for Sevenoaks area travellers: the average journey time to London Bridge is 23-27 minutes, so a train needs take over double that for any compensation to be paid under the current scheme.
Southeastern tell us that:
“Respective Rail Ministers have made statements about 15 minute qualifying periods and/or discounts for poor service but we and other operators have yet to be formally notified.”
So while the then Rail Minister Claire Perry said in June that the Government:
“are committed to improving compensation arrangements for passengers. . . We expect to make an announcement on this in the next few months.”
and the new Rail Minister Paul Maynard said on Monday:
“The Secretary of State and I are continuing to consider more generous compensation for passengers on this route, and we hope to make a timely announcement.”
there’s no sign that more generous compensation will be coming to passengers any time soon.
Perhaps compensation should also be payable to rail customers if the Department for Transport is delayed delivering its policies?