The regulator responds to our super-complaint on issues with compensation for rail delays, and found a situation worse than even we expected. So what happens now?
It’s shocking, but not surprising to us, that the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) found that 80% of passengers aren’t claiming when they are entitled to compensation for a rail delay.
In December 2015, we used our legal powers to lodge a super-complaint with the ORR calling for an urgent investigation into the behaviors and practices of train operating companies. After the backing of more than 40,000 of our campaign supporters, the ORR has now responded to our super-complaint.
The ORR agreed with the concerns we raised in our super-complaint (PDF) and has set out actions that are a short-term step in the right direction to resolve the problems passengers are facing.
More action needed
The ORR’s report found that train companies need to be doing much more than they are to help passengers get a refund when they’re entitled to one.
Just as we found, the ORR also saw some rail companies are doing better.
However, this is outweighed by some rather shocking findings of practices exposed.
One train company confessed in the ORR’s report that it’s not in its best interest to promote compensation to its passengers.
Three other train companies scored a dismal ZERO on ORR’s mystery shop of staff and failed to provide full and accurate information to passengers seeking to claim compensation.
Both findings paint a grim picture of the attitudes to compensation in the sector and seriousness of the problems passengers are facing.
Next steps for the campaign
The announcement is a win for everyone who has backed our campaign to Make Rail Refunds Easier. The pressure is now on the train companies to show they can bring about urgently needed basic improvements for their customers.
Where train companies have been found breaching consumer law and licence conditions, the ORR must take enforcement action without delay.
However, this alone won’t do. The problem must be solved for the long-term. The Government must now ensure that the rail regulator has all the powers necessary to be a watchdog with real teeth to put passengers at the heart of this system.
What do you think of the regulator’s announcement?
[UPDATE 29 MARCH 2016] Our analysis of ten years of Transport Focus data has found that passenger satisfaction has seen little meaningful improvement.
According to official Transport Focus data, passenger satisfaction with value for money has risen by only 7%, from 41% to 48%. Commuters expressed the lowest satisfaction at only 34%, which was an improvement of just 7%. Business passenger satisfaction had risen from 41% to 47%, and leisure travellers from 58% to 64%.
What’s more is passengers saw even less of an improvement to the way delays have been handled, with only a 4% rise in satisfaction. While satisfaction has seen little change, fares have risen by 54% over the decade.
Are rail companies doing enough to compensate passengers for delays?
No (91%, 3,180 Votes)
Don't know (6%, 208 Votes)
Yes (3%, 93 Votes)
Total Voters: 3,481