TRAIN operators are under pressure from the official transport watchdog to pay more compensation in the wake of disruption on Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern.
Transport Focus says Delay Repay is not enough, because ‘existing compensation schemes don’t adequately reflect the difficulties’. It is calling for a lump sum payment to season ticket holders, and free journeys for passengers who had bought other types of ticket.
The TF Board will be holding talks with the managers of Northern and Transpennine Express next week. It wants Northern to reduce the Delay Repay deadline from 30 to 15 minutes, which would be the same as Govia Thameslink Railway.
Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “We’ve heard from people who have been unable to get into work, a heavily pregnant woman stuck on a coach for hours, someone unable to visit their elderly parent – all because they are unable to rely on the train.
“We want train companies to spell out, as soon as possible, how they will compensate those affected. Meanwhile we urge all passengers to claim what they can now and send a strong message to operators that this level of service is unacceptable.”
Reduced timetables introduced to improve reliability on GTR and Northern are continuing, with mixed effect. The position on Northern has been improving, according to the Rail Delivery Group, which said that 1 per cent of Northern trains had been cancelled or significantly delayed in the 24 hours to yesterday morning. However, Govia Thameslink is continuing to encounter more problems, with 6 per cent of trains cancelled or more than 30 minutes late.
The RDG said GTR services had been disrupted by an ‘incident’ between London Bridge/Surrey Quays and Hither Green/Greenwich which had needed the emergency services, plus a points failure at Littlehampton.
RDG regional director Robert Nisbet said: “Rail performance is on the up since the interim timetable was introduced last week but there is still more work to do. Staff across the rail industry have been working hard to deliver the service that customers deserve and to provide greater certainty where there is still disruption.”