Delay Refunds: Regulator says some progress made but train operators must do more

20 December 2016

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today noted train companies’ progress in improving how customers can claim compensation, as part of our latest Rail Compensation Report.

We are now calling on train operators to move to the next level and increase the number of channels available for passengers to claim compensation. ORR wants passengers to get a good service from the railways. If a train is late, then we want everyone on board to understand when and how they can claim compensation.

In March, ORR made recommendations designed to improve passengers’ awareness and experience of claiming compensation for delays. We’ve been working with train companies, representative bodies and government to ensure our recommendations are being adopted and that passengers begin to benefit swiftly.

ORR’s latest Rail Compensation Report shows:

  • Most train companies have worked well and made changes to websites, claim forms and claim processes; these are good, but progress on reaching a wide audience to help passengers claim is varied. It’s important now that all train operators follow good practice and enable passengers to claim compensation across a wide range of channels.

We will continue to monitor the rail industry as it continues to implement the recommendations from our March report; we are carrying out mystery shopping exercises and reviewing the impact of train operators’ action plans.

In particular we will now focus on staff training, the availability of information at stations and the ‘compensation gap’ (the gap between what passengers are entitled to and what is actually paid out) to help us more fully assess the scope for improvement from individual companies.

John Larkinson ORR’s Director of Railway Markets & Economics said:

It’s clear the rail industry is committed to making improvements and the majority of train companies have updated their websites, claim forms and claim processes. However, some have only made minimal changes.
We are calling on all train companies to adopt best practice, increase the number of channels available to claim compensation, advertise compensation rights and make it as easy as possible for passengers to claim.

Notes to editors:

  1. Read the full Rail Compensation Report at: http://orr.gov.uk/info-for-passengers/complaints/rail-compensation-super-complaint
  2. ORR will be reporting fully on how the rail industry is delivering its obligations to passengers in summer 2017.
  3. In March 2016 ORR recommended a package of measures to deliver results for passengers swiftly pdf icon PDF, 764 Kb:
  • A co-ordinated, national promotional campaign by the train companies to increase passenger awareness of compensation available.
  • Clearer, plain English forms, website information, and other written communication to make the process of claiming compensation simpler.
  • Better training to support staff in providing information on compensation.
  • Review consistency between train company franchise agreements to ensure compensation is promoted more prominently and more often at the time of delay.
  • A clearer licence condition for train companies so that explaining compensation is considered and enforced as a key element of good passenger information.
  1. The Office of Rail and Road is the UK’s rail regulator and strategic roads monitor for England, follow us @railandroad.