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Passengers need ‘fares freeze’ not extended compensation, say Labour

THE GOVERNMENT should enforce a “fares freeze” for passengers on Northern trains, Labour said today in response to the proposed extension of Delay Repay compensation.

Rail Minister Jo Johnson announced that the operator plans to extend the current compensation scheme to include delays of 15 minutes and longer from December.

Passengers can currently claim compensation if their train is at least 30 minutes late, but the proposed changes would mean that passengers delayed by between 15 and 29 minutes will be able to claim compensation worth 25 per cent of the single fare as well.

Mr Johnson said: “Passengers deserve a reliable train service, and when things do go wrong, it is vital that they are compensated fairly.”

But shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “Passengers on Northern who were made to fund their own compensation packages following the timetabling chaos are set to be hit with a 3.2 per cent fares hike in January, with the cost of travel having risen three times faster than average wages since 2010.

“What passengers need are affordable, reliable services. The government should enforce a fares freeze on the route as it is unacceptable that passengers should be even further out of pocket following months of disruption.”

Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of consumer organisation Which?, said: “While the introduction of Delay Repay 15 will provide some relief to passengers in the north who have suffered months of unacceptable delays, it fails to address the difficulties many passengers tell us they face in actually claiming compensation.

“Northern rail should now go further and make compensation automatic for all passengers, so they aren’t having to jump through hoops to get what they are owed.”

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