We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Rail Delays: Compensation

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 5th March 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Heidi Alexander Heidi Alexander Opposition Whip (Commons) 9:30 am, 5th March 2015

What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of compensation payments to passengers for delayed rail travel.

Photo of Claire Perry Claire Perry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

It is absolutely right for passengers to be compensated when their journeys are delayed. The Government have introduced tough new measures to ensure that that happens, and compensation payments across the network have increased sixfold since 2011. As the hon. Lady will know, we are introducing a 30-minute “delay repay” scheme on lines that have not already been making payments—as well as other enhanced compensation opportunities—during franchising negotiations and, when we can, during existing contracts. However, recent estimates by Passenger Focus suggest that only 12% of passengers who are delayed by 30 minutes or more go on to claim compensation. I am determined to address that, and, as operators will know, I believe that they need to do much more in this respect.

Photo of Heidi Alexander Heidi Alexander Opposition Whip (Commons)

Sir Nicholas Soames, who is no longer in the Chamber, was entirely right to call for compensation for commuters who experience severe disruption because of the works at London Bridge. Overcrowding on trains from Lewisham is even more severe than normal, and is actually dangerous. How can a compensation regime that pays up only when services are delayed by 30 minutes or more be relevant to my constituents, who can barely get on to a train irrespective of whether it is late or not?

Photo of Claire Perry Claire Perry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I genuinely pay tribute to the hon. Lady, who is an assiduous campaigner for commuters in her constituency. It is very refreshing when Members in all parts of the House participate fully in the cross-party summits at which we hold the industry to account.

The hon. Lady is right. There is not adequate compensation under the scheme to cover the metro-style train journeys that many of her constituents take. As she will know, some operators which have similar service patterns, such as c2c, have introduced minute-by-minute refunds—or will be doing so—but I intend to continue to work on a compensation scheme specifically for those affected by the works at London Bridge.