Passenger dissatisfaction up but train delays down
Train operator payouts to passengers under the Passengers’ Charter delay/repay scheme have more than doubled in two years; up from £12.6m in 2012-13 to £25.6m in 2014-15. These are payments made for train delays and service dissatisfaction. Virgin Trains West Coast accounted for the largest share with £10.4m followed by (former) East Coast Trains with £6.7m.
However, it emerges that less than half of passenger train operators are covered by the scheme: Only First Capital Connect, Govia Thameslink Railway, Cross Country, East Midlands Trains, London Midland, Southern, East Coast Trains, Virgin Trains East Coast Trains, Southeastern, Abellio Greater Anglia, Virgin Trains West Coast and c2c paid out in 2014-15, the last financial year.
A DfT spokesman informed LTT that the other TOCs were not required to pay out because they had not yet signed up to the delay/repay scheme, though that is likely to change when existing franchises come up for renewal.
In a separate move in a drive towards facilitating greater public transparency, Network Rail has enhanced its online data facility. Amongst other things, this shows that NR paid out £105.7m to train operating companies for Schedule 8 delays in 2014-15 (which are made for unscheduled service delays), as against the £194.3m in 2013-14.
The largest payments went to Southern (£28.5m), First Great Western (£18.8m), and Virgin West Coast (£15.3m). 18 TOCs received payments (including Gatwick Express, listed separately even though part of Southern since June 2008) but two train operators made payments to Network Rail, including East Coast Trains which paid £14.9m.
Network Rail attributes the decline partly to different accounting procedures under the new CP5 regime, and cautions against making too many comparisons.