Southeastern pays out record £3.5m in Delay Repay compensation
by William Mata | 18th September 2018
SOUTHEASTERN paid a record £3.5million to commuters last year who made a claim for late running trains under the Delay Repay scheme, according to new data.
The franchise, which serves Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge railway stations, has faced questions about its performance, following the release of the Department for Transport figures.
Critics are concerned the amount paid out in compensation could lead to higher ticket prices in the future, as rail firms look to balance their books.Monetary compensation is available for passengers who have waited half an hour or longer. In 2016/17 [the most recent year on record] Southeastern paid out £3.5million, compared to £2.2million in 2015/16 and just £148,000 in 2011/12, when records began.
John Reynolds, chairman of pressure group Tonbridge Line Commuters, said: “A lot of the delays will be caused by the upgrades to London Bridge, which is still causing problems.
“They are having constant signal problems and tracking failures. And there are other factors, such as people trespassing onto the line.”
On the £3.5million, he added: “The money must come from somewhere, and we could see passengers having to pay more for tickets.”
Under-fire train operators Govia Thameslink Railway and Virgin Trains West Coast topped the list, paying out £14.9million and £13.1million respectively.
Southeastern does not pay out when delays are caused by planned engineering work. But passengers delayed 30 to 59 minutes are offered 50 per cent of their money back, with a single ticket, or 25 per cent, if they bought a return.
A spokesman from the operator told the Times that more passengers were using Delay Repay because of greater publicity about the scheme, and that the number of trains qualifying for Delay Repay had fallen by 24 per cent. She said: “Our passengers are our primary concern and if their journey is delayed 30 minutes or more then it is right that they are compensated for the delay.”