A new study shows that rail passengers are being “ripped off” over refunds for delayed trains. As it happens, I was ON a delayed train when I read this.
The problem is that not enough of us know that we can actually get money back when our trains are late – and the most recent figures from The Transport Salaried Staffs Association find that in the past year there was £162 million in unclaimed compensation for delays.
So what to do? Firstly, make sure you don’t pay more than you have to for your train tickets. Check this guide on where to find cheap family train tickets before you book your travel.
Secondly, if your train is delayed, make sure you claim your money back. Here’s how I learned to do that in the dead of winter last year…
My experience of commuting ranged from being turfed off in the snow at Rickmansworth at 8pm and having to wait 40 minutes in the freezing cold whilst the lady over the tannoy says all trains have been stopped and there may be another one but she doesn’t know when, to it mostly taking me an hour and a half minimum to get to or from work.
The new, shiny, high tech caterpillar trains didn’t seem to have made a blind bit of difference to the delays and I had to shift my perspective from the expectation of having mostly good journeys seeded with a few bad ones to expecting mostly bad ones seeded with the odd good journey here and there.
One particularly freezing cold night in December, I was kicked off along with other passengers at Harrow-on-the-Hill, as they announced a diversion over the system. It was quite late and a few people had been out for pre-Xmas drinks so were luckily in a jolly mood.
Over the tannoy, a train was announced, leaving from an opposite platform. So a handful of tipsy people ran down the stairs at full speed, under the tunnel and up the stairs, only for them to then announce it was back on the platform we had just been standing on. So! Down the stairs we ran, at full speed, back under the tunnel and back up the stairs. We huddled together, out of breath and that’s when the moaning really started.
Claiming back delayed train compensation
What I learned that night changed my view of the delays for good. All of the people I spoke to claimed back compensation for being delayed for more than 15 minutes each journey. One man in particular said he claimed £60 a month in travel and that the only way to get the service improved was to hit them where it hurts… in the pocket!
So, now every time my train is delayed, I fill out a form and they send me a cheque for £6.70! (the cost of my single journey). These are valid for up to 13 months and can be used to pay for any tube journey or against your Oyster card.
Whilst being late is still very annoying, it’s certainly a little less frustrating knowing I can be compensated. I can now sit on the tube as it gets held at a station, timing it and thinking of all the lovely chocolates I can buy with £6.70.
I think it should be common knowledge and encouraged for people to claim back for any journey delayed more than 15 minutes, hence my blog. I want to make it known to all our readers who have to use the underground that there is money available as compensation. Claim it!
Here is the link to the form with Transport for London, or contact your train company direct! Don’t be shy in claiming. It takes about five minutes and hey presto, a cheque will be sent to you in the post.