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Passengers missing out on up to £100 million of train delay compensation every year

Rail passengers could be missing out on up to £100 million of delay compensation each year, the transport watchdog has found.

Transport Focus says that 35% of passengers claimed £81 million for delays in 2017/18, and that up to £100 million is unclaimed every year. 

It says in 2017/18 just 39% of eligible passengers claimed compensation for delays of 30 minutes or more, and only 18% for delays of 15 minutes or more.

The watchdog found passengers didn't claim because they didn't know they could, doubted it was worth it or thought it was too complicated.

Transport Focus has now launched a campaign – Make Delay Pay – to encourage more passengers to claim the compensation they're entitled to.

See our Train Delays guide for how to claim online in under five minutes. 

What is the campaign aiming to do?

Transport Focus is calling for:

  • More automated compensation schemes, so passengers don't have to claim in the first place.

  • Train operators to make the compensation process quicker and easier for passengers, with choices about how they make a claim and receive the payment (including the option to donate this to charity).

  • Train operators to do more to promote how and when passengers can claim money back for every delayed journey, including making announcements on trains.

How to claim for a train delay

While the rules around refunds for train delays are complicated, submitting your claim is quick and straightforward to do. Just follow these five steps:

  1. Make a note of the delay and the reason for it (if you can't remember the length of the delay, use the Recent Train Times tool). 

  2. Look up the train company running the service and find out how much you can get back. (Our Train Delays guide has individual firms' policies.) Fill in the claim form – you can find it online or request one from the station or by phone.

  3. Keep hold of your tickets – you'll need to take a picture of them if applying online or post them to the train company.

  4. Apply within the time limit of 28 days.

  5. If you're rejected for compensation or a refund but still think you have a case, complain – see more on what to do if your claim's rejected.

Most season ticket holders can claim for individual delays, but the rules vary and it's also worth checking if you can claim for continual delays.

What does Transport Focus say?

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: "When things go wrong train operators must ensure every eligible passenger knows about Delay Repay and how to claim.

"They must also do more to make it easy to claim and automate this process wherever possible. To make their voice heard passengers must claim every time."

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