Many regular rail users will be well acquainted with delays and cancellations to their journeys. But how many hours would you have thought have actually been wasted standing around waiting for trains to turn up?
Well according to our latest analysis of the rail regulator’s train delay data, nearly 3.6 million hours were lost to significantly delayed journeys in just one year.
This lost time adds up to over 410 years, and that doesn’t even include delays of less than 30 minutes or over 2 hours.
These delays affected more than seven million passenger journeys last year. Virgin Trains East Coast was the train company with the highest percentage of significant delays, with almost 4% (3.7%) of all their passenger journeys delayed for 30 minutes or more affecting nearly 800,000 passenger journeys. It was followed by Virgin Trains West Coast (1.95%) and Grand Central (1.1%).
The train company with the lowest percentage of significant delays was c2c (0.16%), but even in this case, thousands of individual passengers’ journeys were still affected.
These are pretty astonishing figures, but more importantly, than the numbers is the real impact this has people’s lives.
One understandably frustrated commuter, Rory, told us:
‘Most of all I’m furious about all the lost time – time wasted on trying to get home, time I should be spending with my wife and family, the missed meals, drinks, birthdays, meetings, appointments, anniversaries, gigs and cinema trips’.
And the hours lost waiting for or on trains is made even more infuriating when passengers struggle to claim their entitled compensation.
Despite the high number of delays, we found that there are still real issues in rail passengers getting compensated.
Our super-complaint to the rail regulator trying to get the industry to address the dysfunctional compensation system was two years ago this month.
Some of you will recall that following our super-complaint the regulator agreed that the situation needed significant improvement. Yet last month we found that two in five (40%) commuter passengers said they still weren’t being told of their rights to compensation the last time they were delayed and would have qualified for compensation. This rose to over half (54%) of leisure passengers surveyed who qualified.
Two years on and train companies are still not putting passengers first. Not enough delayed passengers are being made aware of compensation they’re owed and train companies still need to simplify their often convoluted claiming systems.
Another rail user, Sue, told us:
‘On a journey from Winchester to Brighton my connecting train at Fareham was cancelled. I spent the best part of two very cold hours sitting on an outside bench because there was no waiting room.
‘I submitted a claim the next day and received a reply more than a month later telling me it had been rejected because it was outside the 28-day allowable time period. I persisted and eventually received vouchers, which I did not want as I don’t plan to repeat the experience any time soon.’
Impact of delays
Rail passengers have told us about the serious impact train delays can have on their lives, and our analysis of the regulator’s data shows just how long passengers spent stuck on, or waiting for, trains that are very late or don’t even turn up at all.
The progress to date to improve the situation for passengers is simply not good enough. If train companies don’t inform people of their rights and can’t simplify unnecessarily complex claiming systems, then the government must press for automatic compensation to be introduced in order to ensure that all passengers get what they are owed.
Have you experienced delayed trains recently? How often are you delayed and what impact do delays have on you? Have you had trouble claiming for a delay or cancellation? Do you back our call for automatic compensation?
Do you claim for a train delay or cancellation when you're owed compensation?
Yes - always (28%, 398 Votes)
No I don't claim (28%, 387 Votes)
Sometimes - I can't always be bothered (23%, 328 Votes)
I haven't experienced a delay or cancellation (21%, 292 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,405