Bexhill and Battle MP demands compensation for delayed rail passengers

Huw Merriman (left) said he obtained signatures from almost 100 MPs to support his call SUS-190523-135927001
Huw Merriman (left) said he obtained signatures from almost 100 MPs to support his call SUS-190523-135927001

Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman has written a joint letter with consumer watchdog Which? calling on the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), to bring in automatic compensation for passengers who experience delays or cancellations in their journeys.

In a cross-party move, the MP obtained signatures from almost 100 MPs to support his call.

The letter urges the ORR to use the forthcoming Williams Rail Review as a vehicle for delivering a simpler and easier compensation process across the network as soon as possible.

The review is an independent one into the rail industry and will make recommendations on how rail services can be delivered efficiently and to the benefit of both passengers and taxpayers.

Its findings are set to be published later this year.

The letter follows on from a proposed legislation which Mr Merriman tabled last year, calling for the Government to bring in an automatic compensation scheme. He said: “Unprecedented levels of delays and cancellations have left passengers struggling to get to work, school or home on time. That’s why I’ve introduced a law to deliver automatic compensation across the network.

“Train operators receive compensation from Network Rail, who cause the lions-share of delays, but passengers are not completing the burdensome compensation process.

“My law would require the train operators to ring-fence the unclaimed sums and invest in technology so that passengers can tap on, and off, the train and then receive the compensation they are due straight to their bank account.

“he passenger does not even need to be aware of the delay. It is time to take advantage of new technology and deliver for consumers.”

Neena Bhati, Which? head of campaigns, said: “Passengers have faced a torrid time on the trains since the beginning of last year where the rail industry has fundamentally failed on punctuality and reliability.

“People then face a messy and complex compensation system which puts them off claiming when things go wrong.

“A vital way the government’s rail review and industry can start to restore faith is by introducing automatic compensation for delays and cancellations so that passengers don’t have to fight to get the money they are owed.”

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