It’s snow joke: commuting has been a pain this week. Delays and cancellations have been rife, despite the ‘Beast from the East’ snow storm arriving pretty much as predicted. So is it time for train passengers to get automatic compensation for delays and cancellations?
Many of you will have been graced with a dusting, or a few centimetres, of snow over the past few days. And as Carol Kirkwood on BBC Breakfast has reminded me every morning this week: it’s cold, it’s getting colder and there’s more snow on the way.
Despite attempts by the Beast to stop me, I’ve just about managed to keep commuting as normal this week. And judging by how packed my trains have been, so have many of my fellow commuters.
For the latest updates on how my trains are running, I’ve been keeping a close eye on Twitter to see what other irritated passengers are tweeting (the news from my train operator hasn’t been particularly forthcoming).
And I’ve grown accustomed to wrapping up warm, with walking boots to steady myself, for the inevitable lengthy waits on the platform for the train to finally crawl into the station.
This morning was no exception, and I found myself stood for the best part of an hour, as one train was cancelled and another delayed.
And as I peer through the windows of our Marylebone Road office and watch the snow continue to tumble down outside, I wonder what’s in store for my commute home – will I be caught up in travel havoc?
Of course, I can claim compensation for these delays, In fact, I’m well versed at it now – I take out my phone and note down the date and time of the delay. That way, when I eventually find a moment to file my claims, I have all the details I need.
The actual process of filing a claim for me isn’t too much trouble – it requires a log in (because the train company then has all of my details on record), I also need the details and image of my season ticket (which I have a photo of on my phone) and then the date, time and reason for delay.
Providing you have all the information, the process takes about 10 minutes. But when you find yourself doing this every day, and sometimes twice a day, it’s takes up a fair chunk of time.
Now, every time I fill in that pesky form I wonder whether it should be simpler. I’m a delayed passenger, who has been told so by the train driver apologising for the delay, now having to prove the delay to the train company with all supporting evidence. The company will then examine the evidence and credit my bank account if it agrees.
Train companies automatically receive compensation from Network Rail for disruptions but most train companies require passengers to jump through hoops to get their money back. But most train companies require their passengers to complete the admin forms, and some are trickier than others.
While we have free online guides to help affected passengers navigate the confusing claims system, these don’t fix the problem of train companies not dishing out the dough that’s owed to all of their affected customers.
Isn’t it time hat train companies sorted this out, improved their systems and simply automatically compensated their customers?
Do you agree that delayed rail passengers should be automatically compensated for rail disruptions like the rail companies are? Have you been delayed by the Beast from the East, too? Have you found it tricky to claim for a train delay or cancellation?