Rail users 'ripped off' on refunds

 

A rail workers' union today called for a parliamentary inquiry into refunds for delayed trains after claiming that passengers were being “ripped off”.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association claimed that train operators received £172 million from Network Rail in the past year for delays, but only passed on £10 million to passengers, leaving a shortfall of more than £150 million.

The union highlighted publicly owned East Coast, which it said paid out £6.6 million, compared with an average of £400,000 from each of the privately run operators.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes called on the Commons Transport Select Committee to mount an inquiry into what he called "daylight robbery" of taxpayers and passengers.

"This amounts to a rigged system whereby the private rail firms get millions from the taxpayer if their trains are five minutes late and the poor passenger only get a full refund if their train is two hours late.

"The fact that the publicly run East Coast line is paying out 15 times more than the average for the private operators when it comes to refunds shows that there is something seriously wrong with the current system.

"If the private operators were as open and honest as East Coast, they would have paid out well over £100 million rather than a miserly £10 million.

"East Coast is proactive when it comes to giving out refunds, telling passengers on board and at their stations how to claim.

"Private firms prefer to play Scrooge, placing as many hurdles as possible in their way before handing over any cash."

Mr Cortes is writing to Louise Ellman, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, urging her to mount an immediate inquiry into system he described as a "one-way ticket for the private rail firm to pocket millions".

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "This claim demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of how the railway works. Under a system regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation, Network Rail pays money to operators for problems which cause disruption to services and put people off from travelling by train in the future.

"As part of entirely separate arrangements, passenger compensation has become increasingly generous and easy to apply for. As a general principle, train companies will compensate anyone who has bought a ticket for a journey that is cancelled or substantially delayed."

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "Passengers should be at the heart of train companies' operations and I want to see this reflected in compensation regimes. Though I have seen no evidence that operators are deliberately exploiting them to the disadvantage of passengers, I still want a solid reassurance, which is why I have been discussing the issue with the Office ofRail Regulation and the Association of Train Operators.

"Both ORR and ATOC have undertaken a detailed analysis of the current system and in parallel have been consulting on possible improvements to these regimes when they are next updated in 2014. Both myself and passengers want assurances we have the correct incentive system for train operators to force Network Rail to improve the performance of the nation's railinfrastructure."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever