Customers delayed using Virgin Trains’ West Coast Line services are set to benefit from a new innovative compensation scheme.
The company has announced it is introducing the rail industry’s first “Automatic Delay Repay” system.
Travellers held up by up to 59 minutes will be repaid half the cost of a single ticket or half the cost of the relevant portion of their return ticket.
Compensation will rise according to the length of the delay and the company has pledged payments will be made within three days of any delay hit journeys on the line which runs through Wigan, Preston and Lancaster.
Virgin estimates it will have to pay out £2.8m extra in compensation in the scheme’s first year. It stresses the automatic payments will apply only to the customers who will have booked Advance tickets for a specific train through its website or the company’s mobile app. Many people do not claim for delays at the moment and it’s estimated some 3.5 million customer journeys would be eligible to benefit from the scheme if there are delays.
A Virgin spokeswoman said:“The system calculates the money due to a customer in the event of a delay and automatically pays the compensation directly onto the card they used for purchase. The compensation is calculated under the existing Delay Repay scheme. Many additional passengers could also benefit simply by purchasing their Advance tickets through the website, which guarantees the cheapest fares with no booking fees.”
The scheme has earned praise from Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin who said: “Our plan is to make sure passengers across the country benefit from schemes like this and we are encouraging other operators to roll out similar schemes nationwide.”