Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] has backed a call for automatic compensation for rail passengers who experience delays and cancellations.
The campaign, which is being co-ordinated by Which and is supported by nearly 100 MPs across all parties, also calls for simpler and easier compensation processes to be introduced across the rail network.
Clive Betts said:
“Today, it has been revealed that rail passenger time lost to delays and cancellations last year was the worst since records began.
Passengers, on about 80 trains a day, experienced significant delays. Eight million passengers were held up for a minimum of 29 minutes.
But, in some ways, they were the lucky ones.
What about the passengers, whose trains were simply cancelled – an average of 660 a day, the worst since comparable records began – left stranded?
These passengers have failed to get to work on time or arrive at important business meetings. They’ve missed flights and hospital appointments and concerts.”
Clive Betts continued:
“For passengers on the Midland MainLine things have been worse.
Last year’s disastrous timetable chaos left the personal and professional lives of thousands of passengers in tatters.
The government forced the implementation of a new timetable which lengthened journey times on peak services between London and Sheffield. Now we know not only was the timetable worse but more of our now slower trains actually arrived late.”
Speaking about the call for better compensation arrangements, Clive Betts said:
“After a record year for disruption, and with passenger trust in our rail services at a new low, the case for making compensation automatic has never been clearer.
Currently passengers claim for only a third (34%) of journeys where money is owed for delays and cancellations, because the claims’ process is complex.
If the rail system is to start working for passengers, urgent action is needed to improve punctuality, reliability and compensation when things go wrong.
The Williams Review – being undertaken for the Rail Regulator – is a chance to overhaul the complex compensation system for passengers – so that when things do go wrong, at least they get the money they are owed.”