Multi-million pound plans for Southern passengers to claim compensation for months of disruption have been welcomed by Crawley MP Henry Smith.
Season ticket holders are due to repaid the equivalent of a month’s travel, while rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway is due to lower the threshold its customers are compensated for delays, down from 30 to 15 minutes, from December 11.
Passengers using Southern trains have faced disrupted on a daily basis due to a combination of Network Rail track failures, engineering works, unacceptably poor performance by the operator, and industrial disputes.
Crawley MP Henry Smith said: “While I welcome this morning’s announcement of compensation for Southern passengers, including commuters being able to claim a refund for the equivalent of a month’s travel, I’m well aware that this is a short-term remedy and I continue to make representations both in Parliament and with ministers in private.
“The disruption continues to be caused by Network Rail track failures, horrific performance levels from GTR itself, ongoing engineering works, and continuing unnecessary industrial action.
“From my own experience and looking at my inbox I know there have been even more problems on the network in the last 24 hours or so.
“I’ve urgently spoken with the Transport Secretary about this week’s issues – the service simply isn’t acceptable and I’ll continue to hold the Government, the operator and the unions to account.
“Next week the RMT and ASLEF will continue their politically motivated strike action.
“Their continuing and opportunistic strike action only makes our journeys and commutes worse. On Tuesday 6th December, the RMT are starting another three day strike. Starting from this date, ASLEF workers won’t be providing overtime cover, as well as going on strike themselves the following week.
“I’ll continue to hold all sides to account, as a commuter myself I know the situation and am often included in the disruption myself.”
Southern season ticket holders will be eligible to claim a refund for the equivalent of one month’s (four weeks) travel. An annual season ticket holder will be able to claim a refund against their 2016 ticket, which can be paid directly into their bank account.
Customers claiming against quarterly, monthly or weekly tickets must have bought travel for at least 12 weeks between 24th April 2016 and 31st December 2016 to be eligible.
This compensation measure is a one off payment, and will be in addition to the improved Delay Repay 15 compensation scheme. This measure, which Mr Smith had previously called for, will begin operation on GTR services from 11th December.
Under the new Delay Repay 15 scheme, GTR passengers will be able to claim 25 per cent of the cost of the single fare for delays between 15 and 29 minutes. Previously, compensation could only be claimed following a delay of 30 minutes.
The All-Party Party Parliamentary Group on Southern Rail, which comprises of MPs from Sussex, Surrey and South East London are to meet again next week, and continue to represent passengers on this matter.
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