We’ve all been there – made late for work because the train we were supposed to be on hasn’t actually shown up due to a cheeky 15 minute delay.
It’s a regular nightmare for train travellers across the UK and, while stranded on a platform in the middle of nowhere waiting for your late connection, you’ve probably wondered just why the service in this country never seems to substantially improve.
Well, shockingly, it turns out that there could be a pretty ridiculous reason for that.
A new Sunday People probe has revealed that train companies were paid a whopping £107 million in compensation last year for delays – but just £26m of that was passed on to passengers.
According to the Mirror, the People’s report exposed the astonishing £81m ‘profit’ made by the train companies, as well as how difficult they actually make it for passengers to claim refunds (we’ve all experienced that one too, I expect!).
Network Rail is obliged to compensate rail operators for delays caused by track issues like points failures and landslips, but it appears that the train companies themselves aren’t too brilliant at letting passengers know they are eligible for a refund.
The figures show that just a third of passengers are aware they’re entitled to full or partial refunds if trains are delayed, and many of the companies’ websites reportedly bury compensation forms away from their website home pages to make it trickier for disgruntled passengers to find them.
It’s all rather irritating and yet another reason to be pissed off about the state of public transport in this country.
As Lilian Greenwood MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, put it:
No wonder passengers feel they aren’t getting a fair deal. Ministers need to do more to ensure travellers are compensated.
By the way, if you were wondering, Southern Rail made the most money from all this, pocketing £28.5m but passing just £1.6m on to inconvenienced users.
It’s all absolutely ridiculous, if you ask us. The rail service in the UK needs a major overhaul, one way or another.