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Train delay compensation

Train

When rail companies say their trains are ‘on time’ - but you know they aren’t

everything started when I was glancing idly with a Southern Railway performance poster while waiting for a delayed train. The posters are displayed around the network and proudly demonstrate how rail companies have hit their target for service performance - or at best the way they have run near it. But because I stared on the poster I wondered how greater than 80% of trains were supposedly running punctually, yet my experience was nothing can beat that.

In the beginning I believed several bad days around the trains were clouding my perception, and in reality most trains were running promptly. However it didn’t ring true, so right away of 2016 I began to help keep an eye on my journeys, comparing time I should have reached my destinations with when I actually did (or perhaps in certain cases failed to).


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Between your beginning of January and mid-April I'd lost a lot more than A day because of delayed or cancelled trains. And as I write during the early May, that figure is now more than 29 hours, which doesn’t include two days where I couldn’t travel because of a strike. This is a evidence of how badly our rail services perform and the way this really is masked by clever presentation from the data.

For that rail companies I take advantage of regularly, Southern and Thameslink, both run by Govia, the newest official public performance measure (PPM) was that 82.5% of services were promptly. However, if I looked at my figures the picture was completely different: around 37% of services had arrived within 5 minutes of the scheduled time. Some might debate that my figures can’t show how the service is performing overall as they are for any small group of journeys on limited routes and for that reason statistically irrelevant. That does not mean they are definitive, nevertheless they do demonstrate that my experience is nowhere close to the one the rail firms say I will get. I am one of countless people who carry out the same or similar journeys so we all get affected. I'm wondering if much more of us recorded our journeys whether their data will be better mine or that of the rail companies?

I commute daily from Horsham in Sussex to London, and that i usually finish my journey at London Bridge or City Thameslink. Until this past year I used to be commuting 32 miles to Chichester on near-empty trains, which require me to pay about £1,600 per year for a journey of about one hour door-to-door. But, to get a better job and salary, I traded it in for the packed trains to London, increasing my journey by simply six or seven miles. However, the fare rose to just lacking £4,000 annually. Your journey time also improved - it’s often a lot more than 2 hours door-to-door, and that’s without delays. Thankfully, I generally get a seat most mornings, but a change at East Croydon means standing on packed trains. There are days when I’ve been unable to board a train as a result of overcrowding.

The times of day lost to delays comprise a lot of snippets of energy - a few minutes in some places occasionally punctured by way of a horrendous delay. But a minimum of with major delays it comes with an opportunity to claim compensation. Up to now in 2016 We have received about £60 from Govia for delays. This, though, is of little consolation for the constant late arrival at the office inside them for hours to experience catch-up. You will find days after i feel like Reggie Perrin when i reel off of the latest excuse distributed by the rail company to be late. But it’s quite serious when it tarnishes your professional reputation: any meeting scheduled for before 9.30am sees me getting out of bed at 5.30am simply to ensure I am going to ensure it is. As well as i then have already been late a few times.

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 ‘There are days Personally i think like Reggie Perrin’
About the journey home it’s the household that suffer. I've four young children; if my train is delayed I won’t get to read and among them, build a little Lego or play within their Minecraft world. Minor things - however, not if you’re four or seven years of age and possess waited throughout the day to do something with daddy.


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My wife suffers similarly, waiting those few minutes more to the extra couple of hands to offer her a break. Evenings out are precious and few, but we've often overlooked trips towards the cinema because my late arrival has meant we can’t make it happen in time. Snippets of your time, perhaps, but they are persistent and cumulatively corrosive.

So just why this difference between my experience and also the PPMs? For a start, they don’t reflect actual passenger journeys but you are instead an unrealistic method of wanting to capture punctuality. “Late” for any rail company is arriving five minutes late at the destination, in what occur in between irrelevant as the measure is not taken 'till the end of the journey. Therefore if the train is running late it may skip a few stations making it. 5 minutes is another wide margin. On other national railways, such as those invoved with Japan and Switzerland, the margin is slimmer for defining a train as late.

Also, the figures the rail companies give on their posters are an aggregation over the day and the week; and they don’t consider the number of individuals using a train. So trains carrying hundreds of people may be late regularly, but trains on a single route operating late at night or at the weekend and carry just a couple of passengers can arrive promptly and mask the massive impact of the other service failures.


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There is adequate information about compensation for cancelled and late trains in the event the delay is a lot more than thirty minutes, but can it be enough? Just over 7% of my journeys fell into the category where I possibly could claim. Nevertheless the proportion of journeys 15 minutes late was nearly 20%.

The train companies tell us they are undertaking immeasureable try to improve their services, only if we can bear using them longer - but it’s a promise that seems being perpetually dangled before us and not fulfilled. The Reggie Perrin joke is 40 years old, what has evolved since that time, with the exception of the eye-wateringly high fares, supposedly to pay for the rail nirvana that never comes?

I understand that does not every issue is within the power over the rail companies or Network Rail. The weather brings circumstances that no quantity of preparation could handle. Its keep will be the human factor: trespassers and fatalities, which are probably most difficult to handle, but usually passengers are understanding about these. Overall, though, these account for probably under 10% of delays, in accordance with Network Rail. The truth is, almost every other delays are inside the scope with the rail firms or Network Rail to control.

The rail companies don't have the incentive to tackle this matter, since the control over the figures is in their control. The “five minutes” at the terminus could have been acceptable inside the era of British Rail in the event it used someone using a clipboard marking off of the arrival time, however in the age of digital recording and data-sharing an intricate measure is called for seems at the journey as a whole. Also, thirty minutes is simply too long a delay for compensation to be paid. Lowering the limit to 15 minutes means a greater potential for suffering financial loss, so would encourage shareholders to push for much better punctuality. There also needs to be a weighting system for late-running trains, so those that inconvenience more and more passengers have a greater corresponding impact on the general figures than less busy services.

I have had enough and will also be leaving my job london soon for starters closer to home. I feel guilty for quitting only for a year, but while we're served so poorly by our railways no salary can justify the strain, exhaustion and misery that comes with a commute to London.

Response from Southern Railway
We asked Southern Railway to reply to the allegations made by Matt Steel. Inside a statement, it said: “We are sorry the various readers includes a bad time … We realize it’s been a difficult time for passengers with the constraints at London Bridge while it’s being rebuilt, plus more recently with the consequences of our ongoing industrial relations issues.

“Our performance figures … as a whole may not reflect a person’s individual experience, and that we continue to work tirelessly to create improvements throughout the network - we don’t begin to see the industry PPM measure like a target to be achieved, but we attempt to get every train to its destination at its published arrival time.

“It’s good to visit your reader has noticed that there is certainly more info available on claiming compensation for delays, and more and more claims be affected by it. However, we all know that a minimum qualifying period of Fifteen minutes for compensation continues to be required, and that is something that the Department for Transport is considering.”

Southern added that while some trains do skip stops to create up time, it's rare and that “if this is achieved, there's nothing to gain performance measure-wise like a train that skips stops is asserted being a PPM failure - even though it does reach its destination on time”.