Imagine standing on the platform waiting for your 8am train and watching it whizz past without stopping to let you on. This is called stop skipping and it’s disrupting many train journeys. Have you experienced it?
Some are lucky enough to get on their train, only to find they can’t get off at the right place. This is another form of stop skipping; you’re on a train that skips the station you need to get off at, and you have to get off at the next one and wait for another train going back the other way.
There may be a short announcement about some ‘disruption’ to services, but you’re not quite sure what just happened to your morning commute.
Stop skipping under the spotlight
The practice of ‘stop-skipping’ has been under the spotlight north of the border lately, with a number of MSPs complaining about it in the Scottish Parliament. The Minister for Transport has demanded immediate action, saying ScotRail’s communication to passengers had been ‘unacceptable’.
This all came in the week that Transport Focus’ train passenger satisfaction survey showed that ScotRail performed well overall at 85% (slightly above the UK average of 81%). But on how it dealt with delays, its performance was much lower at just 51%. That’s about half of passengers unhappy with how they are treated when it comes to delays.
Why do trains skip stations?
They mainly do so at rush hour at times of disruption. Certain trains are given the green light to miss out stops on their normal journeys in order to reach their end destinations more quickly and minimise delays.
The Scottish Green Party claimed that it is done to make their Public Performance Measure (PPM) look better; stop skipping is treated as a ‘part cancellation’ in the franchise agreement and looks better than a five-minute delay.
The cost of a few skipped stop claims from consumers (those who know their rights and are motivated enough to claim) will be less than the cost of the fine plus the delay claims at multiple stops along the way.
From my own experience, many of the commuters in Inverkeithing, Croy, Polmont, Burntisland (and many others) who suffer regularly don’t know about this and suffer these disruptions without being informed about their rights for compensation.
What are your rights?
We have advice for delayed train passengers on our consumer rights website. In short, if there is planned disruption and an emergency timetable in place, then consumers are entitled to claim for delays (to the emergency timetable, not the original one) in the usual way via the Delay Repay scheme.
A train that doesn’t stop is then ‘delayed’ by the time until the next train comes, with commensurate compensation. You should always claim for delays, and you can use our tool to find out if you have a right to claim.
Confusing? Yes, we’d rather it wasn’t as complicated as all that, and we’d rather all train companies did what they promise in the timetable. But where this isn’t possible we’ve been campaigning for train companies to ensure that their customers get the compensation they are owed for poor service.
Have you experienced stop skipping on your way to work or on other journeys? What impact has it had on your day?