Compensation boost for Northern rail passengers
Compensation claims for Northern rail passengers, who have coped with delays, disruption and cancellations after a timetable overhaul earlier this year, are to be changed from December.
Rail Minister Jo Johnson announced on Thursday that plans have been made by the operator to extend the current delay repay compensation scheme to include delays of 15 minutes and longer.
Passengers can currently claim compensation if their train is at least 30 minutes late.
The changes would mean that passengers delayed by between 15 and 29 minutes will be able to claim back compensation worth 25% of the single fare.
Mr Johnson, who is attending the Transport for the North Board in Sheffield, said: "Passengers deserve a reliable train service, and when things do go wrong it is vital that they are compensated fairly."
The extension comes on top of the compensation package announced for Northern and TransPennine Express passengers who experienced unacceptable disruption following the timetable changes earlier in the summer, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.
Darren Shirley, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said: “Passengers on Northern Rail have experienced unacceptable delays and cancellations since the introduction of the new timetable in May this year.
"We welcome the news that in future they will be able to claim compensation if their train is late by 15 minutes or more.
"However, this does not make up for the daily chaos passengers experienced earlier this year when a new timetable was introduced, which is why the Government should freeze fares in January next year rather than continue with the planned increase based on RPI."
Delay Repay compensation packages already exist on most train franchises, including Northern, for delays of 30 minutes, 60 minutes and two hours or more.
Work is still being done by Northern rail, the DfT, along with Transport for the North and the Rail North Partnership to finalise commercial terms before the changes are introduced.
Northern's commercial director Mark Powles said: "We welcome the introduction of Delay Repay 15 later this year.
"We are putting in place the right measures to make it as easy as possible for our customers to claim compensation for delays to their services."
David Hoggarth, strategic rail director for Transport For The North, said: "This will be a welcome step forward for passengers who are inconvenienced by delays and is in addition to the previously announced special industry compensation package for those most disrupted by the May timetable changes.
"Our focus remains on ensuring the train operators and Network Rail continue to improve performance for passengers."