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South Western Railway announces extra compensation for strike disruption

South Western Railway will pay some passengers extra compensation worth up to the cost of five days' travel, following disruption due to strikes in December.

Customers who use South Western Railway's (SWR) services faced weeks of travel chaos in December 2019 as a result of long-running strikes. And the firm has now announced it will pay additional compensation on top of passengers' usual Delay Repay entitlements as a result of the "duration and intensity" of the strike.

The compensation will be paid to season ticket holders and those with daily tickets who travelled frequently during the strike.

Those with season tickets whose details are held by SWR will be contacted directly by the rail firm to arrange their compensation, but other ticket holders will need to claim proactively.

See our Train Delays guide for full info on claiming for disruption.

Who is eligible for compensation?

If you have a season ticket on a SWR route, or you travelled on its route for at least three days of a seven-day period during the strike, you can claim compensation – even if your services weren't delayed or cancelled. Here's what you could get:

  • If you had a weekly, monthly, monthly plus or annual season ticket, you'll get compensation to the value of five days' travel.

    This will be calculated based on the daily cost of your season ticket, for any days where the season ticket was valid during the strike.

  • If you had a weekly season ticket, you'll also get five days' worth of compensation, for travel on weekdays during the strike.

    If you bought multiple weekly season tickets during the strike, you'll still only get a maximum of five days' compensation – you'll get the full amount as long as you had at least one weekly ticket which was valid during the strike.

  • If you travelled using daily tickets – such as single or return tickets, or Oyster or contactless pay-as-you-go – during the strike, you'll be eligible for compensation if you travelled on three days in a seven-day period during the strike.

    If you travelled on three days in the seven-day period, you'll get three days' worth of compensation; if you travelled on four days, you'll get four days' worth; and if you travelled on five days or more, you'll get the maximum compensation of five days' costs.

If another operator also runs a service on your route, or part of your journey is run by another operator, then your compensation may be less.

If your station didn't receive any train service or bus replacement during the strike, you'll receive the full cost of travel for all days where you had a valid ticket during the strike.

How can I claim?

The compensation scheme isn't yet open, but once it's launched it will take place in two phases:

  • First, SWR will contact season ticket holders whose details it has. This applies to those with monthly or longer season tickets, who bought their tickets at stations or on the SWR website.

    SWR says further details of the timings of this phase of the scheme will be available next week.

  • Then, other eligible customers will need to apply for compensation. This applies to all other ticket holders, such as those with weekly or daily tickets, as well as any monthly or longer season ticket holders who don't hear from SWR as part of the first phase.

    These passengers will need to provide proof of purchase of their tickets. This can be in the form of tickets, receipts, bank or credit card statements, or receipts from third party ticket retailers such as Trainline.

SWR says it is working to create an eligibility checker, so customers can find out whether they're entitled to compensation before they apply.

It says it will notify customers when this is available, as well as when each phase of the compensation scheme opens. You can sign up to receive email updates about the compensation scheme.

Can I claim Delay Repay as well?

If you travelled during the strike and experienced a delay of 15 minutes or more to your journey against the amended timetable, you can also claim through SWR's 'Delay Repay' scheme. This will be paid on top of the compensation announced today.

Compensation works as follows:

  • Delay of 15-29 minutes – 25% of the cost of a single ticket, 25% of the cost of a delayed season ticket journey, 12.5% of the cost of a return.

  • Delay of 30-59 minutes – 50% of the cost of a single ticket, 50% of the cost of a delayed season ticket journey, 25% of the cost of a return.

  • Delay of 60-119 minutes – 100% of the cost of a single ticket, 100% of the cost of a delayed season ticket journey, 50% of the cost of a return.

  • Delay of 120 minutes or more – 100% of the cost of a ticket, whether single, return or season ticket.

If you had an anytime, off-peak, super off-peak or advance ticket and you decided not to travel because your train was cancelled or delayed, you can get a full refund. See SWR's refund page for more information.

What does South Western Railway say?

SWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: "Since I arrived at SWR I have listened carefully to customer feedback and I believe it is right that we offer additional compensation over and above our Delay Repay scheme for the disruption caused by December's strikes.

"Whilst SWR worked very hard to keep people moving during the strikes, I know that our passengers often still had to cope with delays, cancellations and packed trains, and the compensation reflects that.

"This compensation package will provide season ticket holders and daily ticket holders who travelled frequently during the strike with compensation to recognise the disruption they faced."

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