AN enhanced compensation scheme announced by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) in response to the travel chaos caused by its botched introduction of new timetables was branded “pitiful” by the RMT union today.
The train operator announced that passengers who had made return trips on at least three days between May 20 and July 28 would be able to claim money back.
Previously, part-time workers were effectively denied enhanced compensation, as it was only available to commuters with weekly, monthly or annual season tickets.
However, only passengers who travelled on Great Northern or Thameslink services from the most affected stations can claim and the payout will depend on the number, cost and type of tickets bought.
GTR services were extremely disrupted, with unprecedented numbers of cancellations and delays, after new timetables were introduced without adequate preparation.
Rail travellers suffered badly as a result, with some commuters losing jobs and earnings, as well as having their work-life balance severely disrupted.
The high number of delays was revealed in recently published punctuality figures collected by Network Rail.
Nearly 40 per cent of all Thameslink trains were delayed by at least five minutes between 27 May and 23 June, up from 18 per cent in the same period of last year.
The proportion of delayed Great Northern trains also rose sharply, from 16 per cent in 2017 to 30 per cent this year.
GTR chief executive Patrick Verwer said: “We have listened to feedback.
“We believe it is right to extend the compensation scheme beyond season ticket holders to other regular travellers.”
However, RMT general secretary Mick Cash told the Star: “This is belated and pitiful levels of compensation after the misery that GTR have unleashed on their customers.
“Passengers don’t want to have to grovel for a few quid from these greedy spivs. They want decent, safe and accessible services run under public control.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, called for the compensation-claiming process to be as simple and effective as possible.
“It’s now important that train companies actively encourage passengers to claim and make it both quick and easy to do so,” he said.
The enhanced compensation is being offered in addition to the standard Delay Repay scheme, which makes payouts for individual journeys delayed by at least 15 minutes.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.