As a traveller on Britain’s rail networks, it is sad to say but you are probably used to regular delays. If you’re planning on using the rail networks in the UK, you can expect that there will be delays at some point during your travels.
This is an unfortunate reality. While the rail network is one of the most expensive in the Western world, it is also less reliable than some other countries in Europe, like Switzerland and France.
Delays are a part of many commuters’ and travellers’ lives, but what some don’t know is whether they are eligible for compensation if they are delayed.
Legislation and Delay Repay
The government has put in place legislation that guarantees a rail traveller compensation in certain conditions. Alongside this the “Delay Repay” scheme that many rail operators are implementing, going further than the statutory minimums for payments and times.
Each rail service provider has its own policy regarding compensation and refunds, so when you’re making your enquiries, check the individual policy of the rail provider.
When you are Eligible for Compensation
When a train is delayed and you still use it, you may be eligible for compensation. If you haven’t used the service, you may be entitled to a refund but not compensation.
If you are one hour late to your destination, the minimum you will be compensated by any rail service provider is:
- Single Ticket: 50% of the price paid for your ticket.
- Return Where Both Legs are Delayed: 50% of the price paid for your ticket.
- Return Ticket with Delay on Either Outbound or Inbound Journey: 50% of the price paid for the delayed leg of the journey.
- Season Ticket – This varies and the Passenger Charter of the relevant rail service provider should be consulted. Compensation is paid on renewal.
This applies to any journey of 30 minutes plus, and where provided, covers all train ticket types, including Season tickets.
Delay Repay entitles passengers to compensation even if the rail service provider is not responsible for the delay. This includes the severe weather, police and emergency services use of the line and accidents.
The amount of compensation you are eligible changes according to which rail company you are using’s policies, and is generally less than 50% the price of the ticket, but it is well worth looking for.
Passengers need to make their own, individual claims in accordance with the conditions each rail service provider sets. These can change between services, so look on the relevant website for the exact conditions.
While only about half of the rail franchises in England offer Delay repay (look on the National Rail website for a complete list), every new franchise that takes over the running of a rail line must offer Delay Repay.
When you are not eligible for Compensation
You are not eligible for compensation if the reason for the delay was beyond the reasonable control of the rail service provider.
These conditions are set out in the Conditions of Travel agreement with National Rail and the Passenger Charter of the individual rail company. All Passenger Charters are approved by the governing body so they meet minimum standards and all cover the basic compensation rights of the traveller.
The conditions for a non-compensable delay include: severe weather conditions, accidents, security alerts and situations, crime and the needs of the emergency services on the line. These are all reasonable conditions in which it could not be expected that the rail company in question could anticipate or prepare for, and therefore cannot be compensated.
For more detail as to what you can be compensated for and what you won’t be compensated for, consult the Passenger Charter of the rail service providing the train you are travelling on.
When the service you receive is poor and causes harm, delay or mental anguish, you may be entitled to a level of compensation. Consult the Passenger Charter of the relevant rail service provider for more conditions.
When you buy a rail ticket, you are entering into a legal contract that binds you and the rail provider into a certain standard of behaviour and responsibility. If you are in breach of these conditions when an accident or other compensatable incident were to occur, you might not be eligible for compensation.
Nation Rail Passenger Refunds & Compensation (includes Delay Repay) – http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/72098.aspx
Conditions of Travel information – http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/46427.aspx