If you commute to work by train, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when things don’t run smoothly. This is especially true as fares have crept up year after year – customers currently pay 2.5% more for a peak train fare than they did last year. But there is finally good news for some rail passengers, as Virgin Trains are introducing automatic compensation for customers who have been delayed.
As of the 3rd October, passengers using Virgin Train’s services can now receive automatic repayments on any delays of half an hour or more. The Automatic Delay Repay (ADR) scheme will see affected passengers receive money credited to their payment cards within three days of the delayed journey.
Virgin – who are currently the joint second-worst performing operator in England and Wales – expect to pay out an estimated £2.8m in compensation in the first year of this new system. The company revealed further that as many as 3.5m journeys will qualify for potential claims.
It is thought that the idea came about following the announcement that delayed passengers can now receive compensation in cash instead of vouchers. With the government urging other train operators to copy Virgin’s model, others could follow suit.
When can you claim?
There are restrictions on who can receive compensation, with money only being received automatically if a customer:
• Used Virgin’s West Coast Mainline.
• Booked via the app or through the company website.
• Purchased an advanced ticket for a specific train.
• Was unaware of the delays before they bought a ticket.
As long as Virgin is confident that a delay of at least 30 minutes occurred, automatic compensation will be provided.
How much can you get?
The amount of compensation you’ll be eligible for will depend on the length of your delay. The table below provides more detail:
|30-59 mins||50% of the cost of a single ticket or relevant portion of a return|
|60-119 mins||100% of the cost of a single ticket or relevant portion of a return|
|120 minutes +||100% of the cost of single ticket or both portions of a return|
How to claim?
If you don’t fall into the compensation boundaries set out, you can still claim compensation the good old-fashioned way. Each rail company has its own specifications when it comes to claiming compensation, but most now operate a ‘delay repay’ scheme. This means that you should be able to get compensation if you’re delayed by half an hour or more.
When it comes to claiming, it’s how much your overall journey is delayed and not the specific train that counts. For example, if you’re delayed by five minutes but this causes you to miss a connection and arrive 45 minutes late at your destination, the compensation you’ll be able to claim is for the whole 45 minutes and not just the initial five minute delay.
To apply for compensation, you’ll need to provide proof of payment for your journey as well as information on the delay and how it impacted your journey. To be eligible, you need to apply within 28 days of completing your journey. If you’re successful, you could receive at least 20% of the ticket price for a single journey or 10% of the cost of a return.