Rail company pays hundreds over continual delays as others could follow suit

first_imgMr Pochin then applied for a judgement ruling, and in December he won and Greater Anglia was ordered to pay him £350. Greater Anglia was forced to pay a commuter hundreds of pounds after he complained of “continual delays”, in a landmark case which campaigners say could mean other companies will have to pay out.Seph Pochin, of Halesworth, Suffolk, told the BBC that his journey between Halesworth and Ipswich was “woeful” because of so many delays, and it was causing him to consider moving house.His journey is supposed to be around 55 minutes each way, and he claims delays added an extra 28 hours over 12 months.Between February 2017 and February 2018, he made 550 journeys and recorded 183 delays.Of these, he said 26 journeys were late by more than 15 minutes, with an 100-minute delay on a journey last August.Greater Anglia has a delay-repay scheme which pays out if trains are more than 30 minutes late.Mr Pochin became tired of what he calls the “continual” delays, and spent £35 to take the company to court under the Consumer Rights Act.In September, he and the rail company agreed to mediation, but GA failed to give dates to meet. Graham Palmer, the head of research at the South East Rail Group, told The Telegraph: “Yes it’s an ingenious way of forcing a TOC to respond. However, the person involved had expend time and effort and to spend about £112 in fees, in order to recover £350 so that’s a net recovery of £238!  “It may well set a precedent for using an existing piece of legislation but I can’t see everyone wanting to shell out the court fees or take the time even. “Nevertheless, it does serve notice that this mechanism can be used to effect. “He also argued that all train operators should be forced by the Department for Transport to observe the 15-minute delay repay rule and “more importantly that a maximum time for processing and payment is enforced of say 12 working days from the time of claim.”   He failed to be compensated by February, so paid £77 for a warrant to be served on GA to seize assets worth £350, and the operator will now have to pay out or face bailiffs.A spokeswoman told the BBC that the lines affected during Mr Pochin’s journeys are currently being upgraded by Network Rail in a £68m scheme “to make the train service more reliable”.Many campaigners have watched this case with interest, and say that it could cause passengers to be compensated for continual delays. Emily Yates is the co-founder of the Association of British Commuters, which took the Department for Transport to court in June 2017, and secured a £13.4 million fine of Govia Thameslink Railway over the Southern Rail crisis.She told The Telegraph: “We’ve been saying since the beginning of the Southern Rail crisis that one day soon, the floodgates will open for small claims against train operating companies.”So, we would like to congratulate Mr Pochin today, and remind all passengers that it costs only £35 to initiate their own small claims action! In cases where the train operating company is clearly at fault, passengers must have a powerful means of gaining full compensation. Our passenger-led investigative team proved Southern Rail’s fault in the Redhill chaos last month, and we’ll be watching closely to see that customers are fully compensated for the hotels, taxis and lost flights they unexpectedly had to pay for. center_img “Mr. Pochin’s success is all the more important coming just days after Which? exposed the TOCs for misleading passengers about their right to claim for ‘consequential losses’ under the Consumer Rights Act. The Rail Delivery Group has since updated the National Rail Conditions of Travel to this effect, but the RDG would be well-advised to consider this new level of passenger power while drawing up plans for the UK’s new rail ombudsman.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more