Rail passengers can now claim compensation from train operator Northern when their journeys are delayed by as little as 15 minutes, Rail Minister Andrew Jones has announced.
The Delay Repay 15 scheme means passengers can claim 25 per cent back on the price of a single fare if their journey is delayed by between 15 and 29 minutes. Passengers can already claim for delays of 30 minutes or more.
Some campaigners welcomed the scheme but insisted Northern must address the causes of frequent delays.
David Hoggarth, strategic rail director at Transport for the North, said: ““The major disruption passengers across the North have endured this year has been unacceptable, it’s only right that they’re compensated when things go wrong.
“This a welcome move that will mean more people can claim now and in the future. Focus must now be getting services back on track.”
Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail Users’ Group, questioned the scheme’s value.
He said: “The main concern for commuters is getting to work on time. Getting £2.50 back isn’t going to make you feel better about missing an important meeting.”
Stephen Waring, chairman of the Halifax and District Rail Action Group, wants operators to invest in improved services.
He said: “What passengers really need is to be confident in the expectation of on-time running, and cancellations should be rare.
“Train operators need to invest in sufficient resources of trains and crew so that this happens.
“Paying out on a daily basis for failure is a present necessity; but it’s not even a second best solution to the real problems.”
Northern has compensated over 11,000 passengers since problems caused by timetable changes earlier in the year.
Northern’s deputy MD, Richard Allan, said: “Our team works hard to deliver a consistent, punctual service but delays do happen and extending the scheme is the right thing to do for our customers.”
Announcing thr Delay Repay 15 scheme today, Mr Jones, Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said: “Extending ‘Delay Repay’ to cover 15 minute delays is the right thing to do for Northern passengers. Our absolute priority is delivering the reliable services passengers deserve, but when things go wrong people must be compensated fairly and quickly.
“We are also investing £15m on enhancements for passengers across the North, ensuring we deliver improvements that passengers want alongside more comfortable and punctual services.”