Additional rights for delayed rail passengers
Delayed rail passengers will now be given stronger rights to claim consequential losses, including taxi fares, hotels and missed flights following train cancellations and delays.
Currently the National Rail Conditions of Travel (NRCoT) govern rail travel and this allows operators to refuse claims for consequential losses. From Sunday 11 March 2018, the NRCoT will be updated to state that a passenger’s right to claim for losses will be governed by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, ensuring that passengers will have additional rights to claim compensation.
What will rail passengers be able to make a claim for?
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 does not specifically refer to consequential losses however it does state that services must be carried out with “reasonable care and skill”. Under the impending changes to the NRCoT, passengers will be permitted to submit claims for consequential losses and rail operators shall be compelled to review these claims. In addition, passengers will be entitled to make a claim for poor service under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This is in addition to the current position whereby rail passengers can claim for a reimbursement or partial reimbursement of the cost of their rail ticket following a delay to the service by the rail operator.
How will the rail operators respond to claims under the new rules?
The Rail Delivery Group (a leadership body that brings together the companies running the UK’s railway networks), has advised that passengers claiming consequential losses through the Consumer Rights Act 2015 need to pass a “very high legal hurdle” in proving that the train service was not provided with reasonable care and skill. It also states that while it has been happy to work with the Government to make customer rights clearer, “it is important for our customers to understand that it is very unlikely that they will be entitled to compensation for additional losses”.
It remains to be seen how the rail companies will deal with claims following the upcoming changes.
Tips for making a successful claim
- Take a note of the date, time, train company and service you are on including the reason given for the delay or cancellation and how long you were delayed for;
- Record what impact this had on you and your journey and what steps out had to take because of the delay or cancellation – for example you had to get a taxi;
- Keep any receipts and take photographs to support your claim; and
- Apply within the time limit specified by the rail company.