A further £257.75 can be claimed for commuter delays on the Hastings service in the first 12 days of January, with commuters from Brighton entitled to as much as £104.02 for the same period. Far more than offsetting the average 4.1% rise in ticket prices, it would give them a significant proportion of their travel costs back.
The best news is that because you can make claims up to 28 days after the delay, the lion’s share of this money is still available to commuters who put in their claims now.
Alison Steed, founder of MyMoneyDiva.com, said: “It is time for commuters to fight back, and MyMoneyDiva is encouraging people to claim what is due to them – you can do this for up to 28 days after the delays occurred. So it is still possible to claim for the Christmas and New Year storms.
“It is disgusting that commuters are consistently suffering at the hands of the rail firms, yet to add insult to injury the compensation payments are stacked in favour of the train operators. With winter still in full swing, the delays are not likely to improve any time soon.”
Compensation for delays is now paid under the Delay Repay system for most train operators, which was implemented by the Department for Transport in April last year. Most operators have signed up to the scheme, and it means passengers are now paid compensation for any delay of more than 30 minutes, which qualifies the ticket holder to 50% of their single ticket cost to be refunded, while those delayed over an hour will receive a 100% refund. Season ticket holders receive a proportional refund based on the daily cost of an annual ticket and although refunds are made in National Rail vouchers, they are usually valid for one year and are transferrable.
Although this is more generous than the previous system, it still lags well behind the high-speed compensation paid to the train operators by Network Rail. For delays on short journeys, the train operators are paid compensation after five minutes, and after 10 minutes for longer journeys. The bitter irony is that Network Rail is taxpayer-funded, so in effect rail users are paying the rail firms twice – first from their fares, and then a handsome sum on top through their taxes for late-running trains.
MyMoneyDiva asked DelayRepaySniper to look at six key commuter routes into the capital and what could have been claimed both by commuters and someone unlucky enough to suffer each of the worst delays throughout December.
We found that anyone travelling on each of the worst performing services each day in December would have actually been paid to travel on Virgin Trains from Coventry to London and on South Eastern Trains from Ashford to London throughout the month.
The total allowable reclaims would have been a massive £807.19 from Virgin Trains, which is a sizeable £284.89 more than the cost of monthly travel on this route. Virgin Trains has confirmed that, although theoretical, it would be possible for it to end up paying people to travel on its services under the new Delay Repay scheme.
For South Eastern, a traveller could have theoretically reclaimed £531.65 for suffering all of the worst-performing services between Ashford and London, which would have meant a reclaim of £54.25 more than the cost of your monthly ticket.
To help with the process, MyMoneyDiva has joined forces with DelayRepaySniper to offer an easier way to get your hands on the money that you are due.
Steed added: “You can make a Delay Repay claim directly with your train operator if you wish for free, and they should have the forms available on the trains or at the station. You should also be able to deal with most firms online to claim too if you wish. But this can be laborious.
“So we are working with DelayRepaySniper which will not only tell you by email when you can make a Delay Repay reclaim3, it can also help to make the claim for you if you wish. The full reclaim service costs just £11.99 a month, but anyone signing up through our website will get their first six months for just £10 a month. The best news is that if you do not make a claim for a month, that fee will be refunded even after the offer period ends. So commuters really can only gain from this.”
The typical claim seen prior to December was £70 per month, still a significant proportion of a commuter’s monthly ticket price, but according to the calculations done for MyMoneyDiva, the maximum claims that could have been made last month would have been significantly higher than that.
Steed added: “Even the lowest amount that could have been claimed according to the commuter claim calculations was still a substantial £194.02 – equivalent to 43% of the monthly ticket price – for those travelling in from Colchester to Liverpool Street.
“The good news is that you can still make a claim up to 28 days after the delay, so anyone affected by poor rail services over the Christmas and New Year can still get the compensation they are due.
“It is time for commuters to fight back, stop accepting poor services, and get the money they are due”
Commuters and other rail passengers can go to http://www.mymoneydiva.com/
For further information, please contact:
Alison Steed, founder of MyMoneyDiva – 01233 226221 or 07710 424796
Notes to editors:
1. Commuter trains were considered to be those running between 6am and 9am and 5pm and 8pm. Weekends and December 25 and 26 were excluded from the calculations.
2. The calculations are based on standard price fares from Ashford International.
3. DelayRepaySniper will only email the affected journeys that you could actually make a claim for. This excludes non-claimable journeys, such as those where there was another service running that would have been able to get you to your destination on time, which can negate a Delay Repay claim.