NEW figures have shown that hundreds of thousands of the region’s train users were awarded compensation due to delays over the summer.
A report published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the regulatory body for Britain’s railways, showed that between April 1 and July 20, South Western Railway dealt with 185,280 claims while Govia Thameslink Railway, which includes Southern Rail, were subject to 236,807 delay claims. Govia Thameslink approved compensation in 83.5 per cent of cases while South Western Railway compensated customers for 81.7 per cent of claims. Great Western Railway, which has a limited number of services in and out of Portsmouth, also dealt with 87,213 claims.
Denis Fryer of Portsmouth who co-ordinates the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group, said: ‘I certainly think the number of delays are on the increase. These figures are not acceptable, there are quite simply too many delays. A high proportion of delays are down to infra-structure problems and there are now so many trains that if one is delayed it has a knock-on effect. The problem comes if you have a connection. A train which is three minutes late may result in having to wait more than 30 minutes for the next train.’
Customers can claim for compensation once a delay exceeds 15 minutes with a 25 per cent refund on a single journey and 12.5 per cent on return tickets. Once a delay exceeds two hours then the customer is entitled to a full refund on all types of ticket.
A spokesman for South Western Railway, said: ‘Nobody likes delays, but when things do go wrong we are determined our customers are suitably compensated. Our Automated Delay Repay scheme has helped passengers claim compensation with just a click of a button.’
The spokesman highlighted “severe weather, repairs to rail infrastructure, strike action and trespassing” as major reason for delays.
Govia Thameslink Railway has highlighted its swift response to claims and progress to reduce delays.
Chief operating officer Steve White said: ‘We are proud to have continued to settle 100 per cent of claims within the industry target of 20 working days, at an average of just three to four working days. The latest ORR figures show that this year we have achieved the industry’s biggest improvement in punctuality and the number of passenger complaints we received has almost halved, to 12 per 100,000 journeys, the lowest rate of any major operator.’
Nationally, rail companies dealt with 1.2 million delay claims during this period.