You’ve waited patiently for two hours plus on a cold platform for your train to eventually arrive. The least you deserve is swift, nay immediate compensation.

Delay repay – backward momentum

Given the stalling of the automatic train delay repay compensation scheme, the reality is that things have gone the other way. The template utilising replies from Rail providers erodes further the spirit of already weary commuters. This puts more obstacles in their way, in their plight to redress the wrong through delays. Across the network of rail operators – the casual caveat of “high volumes” pushes the timeline back.

It can take upwards of two months from the date of the claim until a decision. Even then, two weeks plus after that for payment is not unknown. The irony won’t be lost on consumers and associated groups that an opportunity to put right an oft avoidable wrong is decimating into a farce. The wronged are often suffering more unnecessary delays at the hands of seemingly unscrupulous providers.

More commuters are claiming, but still nowhere near all entitled

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (extended to cover rail companies from 2016), sets out the entitlement in these circumstances. In fact, inconvenienced commuters could be entitled to a higher percentage of the ticket price than the providers currently calculate.

This will only serve to fuel the fire of discontent that rages against profiteering rail companies.

Commuters could revolt

A commuter revolution could begin on the platform while waiting for the train. It only needs a consolidated group to start a movement, logging small claims actions. Thus refusing to accept the determination of the late service providers, sending out a message that one delay is bad, a delay redressing delay is an insult.

Then skimming money off said recompense is a kick in the privates too far. There are still loopholes in the law that needs clarifying through the court. At the moment rail providers seem to be allowed to make their own determinations, often after a cumbersome process.

Resistance to process improvement

In an increasingly robotic age, human delay/error is becoming inexcusable.

The obvious counter-argument against speeding up re-dressing train delays is a work creation/sustainment one. By speeding up the process, however, they can free up resources to attack the causes of delays: signalling, carriage capacity/availability and scheduling of trains/number of carriages. Certainly, attention given to the latter issue would reduce overcrowding. Yet another thorn in the side of UK rail providers.

Comparison to EU counterparts not all bad

Last year, it was estimated that commuters spend up to 14% of their annual income on rail travel. Comparably, the UK Delay Repay compensation system has some better elements than the redress offered in some key EU countries. This is in the fact that thirty minutes is the minimum time for delay, as opposed to sixty minutes.

There is increasing support for this to be reduced to fifteen minutes in the UK. There has been small-scale take-up, but no real momentum as yet. There is also a view that any delay should attract some form of redress. This rainbow seems a way away at this particular time.

There has been a commonly accepted standpoint that trains in EU countries were generally more punctual than their UK equivalent. This is increasingly becoming a moot point. From 2009 – 2016 delays in Germany are said to have risen by 1/3.

Delay repay delay must stop

It could fill a book, let alone another article to go through the merits of the UK delay repay system, compared to EU or other equivalents. There is not much by the way of reports of delays to repay – it’s a Europe wide industry secret at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need redressing for those affected, wherever they may dwell, however, particularly in the UK.