Compensation for train delays and cancellations

MQT on 2015-06-17
Session date: 
June 17, 2015
Question By: 
Richard Tracey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Richard Tracey


Last week it was revealed that there were over 3,000 train journeys where Londoners could have claimed compensation because their train was late or cancelled. But only 15% of people who could claim actually did. Do you think that train operators and TfL should do more to promote the fact that commuters can receive compensation for late or cancelled journeys?


Answer for Compensation for train delays and cancellations

Answer for Compensation for train delays and cancellations

Answered By: 
Richard Tracey

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you very much, Dick.  This is an excellent initiative on the part of the GLA Conservatives.  You are pointing out that relatively few people claim for trains being late or cancelled.  You are absolutely right that it is unacceptable and it should be much easier to claim for cancellations or lateness in your journeys.  I would point out that there is a big difference between the way TfL treats its customers and other rail services.  We are very quick with our Oyster system at reimbursing you if something has gone wrong or if you have failed to touch out or whatever it happens to be.

Richard Tracey AM:  This is a disgraceful situation, Mr Mayor.  Apparently £56 million has gone uncollected and, as you say, TfL apparently makes refunds automatically.  Is it going to be possible for you to press the train operating companies to bring in a similar sort of system that is much fairer to the travelling public?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  One of the great advantages we have, obviously, is the Oyster card system.  We know where journeys have been made, where you have touched in and where you have touched out and we can time the journey exactly.  As I understand it, some of the Network Rail companies do not yet have that facility.  There are cases where you get a voucher that has to be exchanged for new tickets at a ticket office and so on.  All that kind of palaver puts people off.

Obviously, the best way forward would be to give TfL more of a role in some of these suburban franchises and to allow us to use our automated systems and generally deliver a better service.

Richard Tracey AM:  I was going to suggest exactly the same thing.  For some time, you have been calling for devolution of the regional rail services to TfL.  Actually, can I inform you that last week the leaders from Kent County Council on transport did tell us at the Transport Committee that they would be prepared now to consider this sort of move so that Southeastern, for example, would be far more part of the TfL operation?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  That is an absolutely fascinating development and I hope that Members of the Assembly were listening when Dick said that.  This is something that has really changed.  There was deep hostility in Kent and elsewhere to giving London more of a say in these franchising operations.

What has possibly changed is that people have seen, firstly, what a good job the Overground service has done and how well TfL handles these services.  Obviously, we are going to have a big new challenge with the West Anglia Main Line and we have to get that right.  The second thing was the experience at London Bridge when people thought, “Well, who is in charge of all of this?”  In the end, people want a transport system that is accountable.

Richard Tracey AM:  It is definitely a fairer way forward, no question.  Thank you.