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Rail firms "rip off passengers for millions over delay refunds"

Rail firms are pocketing millions in compensation for train delays-and short changing passengers by over £140 million at the same time, claims rail union TSSA..

Despite being paid £163 milion for delays last year by taxpayer funded Network Rail, the private rail firms have only admitted paying out £12 million in refunds to passengers for delays,said the TSSA.

Union general secretary Manuel Cortes branded the two tier refund payment system as "blatantly rigged"against the passenger and called for it to be changed by the Government's current review of rail fares.

"There are high speed refunds for the rail firms but long  suffering passengers are firmly on the slow branch line when they try to reclaim for delays.

"These firms get paid full compensation when a train is five  minutes late but passengers only get a partial refund  after their train is 30 minutes late.

"Passengers seeking refunds are in a casino where they find  the roulette wheel has already been fixed-and the only winners  are the train firms.

"They are laughing all the way to the bank. For every £10 we pay them, they only pass on less than £1 to passengers. It's a scam that should be stopped.

"These firms get over £400 million in subsidies and charge the highest fares in Europe. The final insult is that passengers, via taxpayer funded NR, then gives them another £163 million for running late trains."

He questioned why NR started to pay compensation to private rail firms after delays of five minutes while passengers had to suffer delays between one and two hours to get a full refund.

He singled out publicly owned East Coast for praise after they paid out almost £6 million for delays last year-five times more than its long distance rival CrossCountry.

"Unlike its privately run rivals, East Coast takes a pro- active role in making sure its passengers get the right level of refunds for train delays."


* Refunds paid last year;

East Coast, £6.8 million; Greater Anglia, £1,563,000; CrossCountry, £1,410;Southern, £805,000; First Capital Connect, £772,000; Southeastern, £523,000; London Midland, £385,000 and East Midlands Trains,£351,000.

** These eight firms are legally required to inform the DfT how much they pay out under the "delay-repay" scheme. The remaining 14 rail firms are not-and they don't.

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