THE Delay Repay window has been reduced to 15 minutes for passengers on Northern from today.
The change follows the first Delay Repay 15-minute window, which was introduced on Govia Thameslink Railway in 2016, replacing the previous 30-minute threshold.
Rail minister Andrew Jones said the move was the ‘right thing to do’. He continued: ‘Our absolute priority is delivering the reliable services passengers deserve, but when things go wrong people must be compensated fairly and quickly.
‘We are also investing £15 million on enhancements for passengers across the North, ensuring we deliver improvements that passengers want alongside more comfortable and punctual services.’
The new Delay Repay threshold follows many months of disruption on Northern routes caused by a combination of timetable problems in May and continuing industrial action in the dispute with the RMT over on-train staffing.
Northern deputy managing director Richard Allan said: ‘We are truly sorry for the inconvenience caused by the disruption to rail services earlier this year and have paid special compensation to more than 11,000 season ticket and non-season holders since the summer.
‘Now, with the launch of Delay Relay 15, those customers who experience day-to-day delays will be able to claim the compensation they want and deserve. Our team works hard to deliver a consistent, punctual service but delays do happen and extending the scheme is the right thing to do for our customers.’
The reduced Delay Repay threshold is in addition to special compensation which was announced for passengers on Northern and TransPennine Express following the timetable problems in May. The Department for Transport said more 12,000 claims have been received from Northern passengers so far, and more than £1 million has already been paid.
The 15-minute Delay Repay window is the DfT’s new standard, and will apply to future franchises when they are awarded.
Meanwhile, the first electric train ran under test between Manchester and Preston last Thursday night, as the overture to providing a full electric service on the 40km route via Salford, Bolton and Chorley. Northern said the late completion of this Network Rail electrification scheme had contributed to many of its timetable problems in May.
Disruption on Northern is not yet a thing of the past, however, because the RMT is set to stage more walkouts on 22 and 29 December. Northern said that if both go ahead there will have been 19 strikes on consecutive Saturdays this year. Daytime services have been reduced on strike days, with almost no trains running after 17.00.