Commuters who use Thameslink and Great Northern trains can now get automatic compensation for delays of 15+ minutes, as part of a scheme soon to be rolled out to Southern and Gatwick Express passengers too.

Many season ticket holders who are registered for a 'key smartcard' on the Thameslink or Great Northern routes will now automatically be offered compensation if their train arrives more than 15 minutes late.

Currently the automatic compo is only available to these passengers taking a direct train on a Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern or Gatwick Express route – anyone swapping trains mid-journey still needs to claim manually.

The scheme, launched yesterday, is expected to benefit thousands of passengers and will be extended in coming weeks to those registered for a key smartcard on the Southern and Gatwick Express website.

How will the scheme work?

To get automatic compensation, passengers must have a 'key smartcard'. This is similar to London's Oyster card and allows commuters to tap in and out rather than using a paper ticket. These are available to passengers with weekly, monthly or annual season tickets.

  1. If you haven't already, sign up for a key smartcard with Thameslink or Great Northern.
  2. Check you have opted to receive email alerts about automatic compensation offers; you should have received an email asking your permission to get them.
  3. If you have a delay of more than 15 minutes you will receive an email within 48 hours asking you to approve the automatic compensation offer in your online account.
  4. You must approve the claim within 28 days of the delay – not 28 days from the notification.
  5. Once you've approved the claim, it should be paid within 14 days.

The scheme will work using data from when you tap in and out, comparing it to how long your journey should have taken. The system will then check for any relevant delays or cancellations, and create an automatic compensation claim if it finds one.

How much should I get?

Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express operate the Delay Repay compensation scheme, and pay out for delays of 15 minutes or more – regardless of what caused it. Here's what you can claim:

  • 15-29 minutes – 25% of the single fare or 12.5% of the return
  • 30-59 minutes – 50% of the single fare or 25% of the return
  • 60-119 minutes – 100% of the single fare or 50% of the return
  • 120+ minutes – 100% of the single or return fare

Compensation for season ticket holders is worked out as a percentage of their ticket, eg, a single fare would be calculated as their annual fare divided by 464.

What if I disagree with the amount of compensation offered?

If you think you've been given the wrong amount of compensation you can amend the offer in your account, and add notes saying why you think it's wrong. The claim will then be reviewed by customer services staff.

Alternatively, you can reject the claim altogether and put in a manual claim via the traditional route. See our Train Delays guide for more information.