Over the last few months I have received numerous reports from constituents of the time lost to consistently late trains. A few minutes delay to and from work each day adds up quickly, yet unless a train is 30 minutes late (often avoidable on a line that serves several trains an hour at peak), no compensation is ever due.
The Government has committed to reducing the time after which compensation can be claimed to 15 minutes during the course of this Parliament, and I am pushing for this to happen as fast as possible.
Even when journeys are delayed, however, receiving compensation is simply not straightforward enough. Research confirms this: only 1 in 10 passengers manage to claim compensation. This could mean £1bn in unpaid compensation over the course of this parliament, and is particularly galling given that train companies are compensated by Network Rail the minute they are responsible for a delay. There needs to be rapid improvement, and publishing the numbers for compensation claims would be an obvious first step.
Finally, if we are to have a rail ticketing regime fit for the 21st century, we also need to see progress towards more flexible ticketing options – so that those on the edges of London zones and those commuting part-time are not penalised for doing so.
I will continue to make the case with the Department for Transport and rail operators to see swift progress on these issues, so that East Surrey commuters get the rail service they deserve at a fair price.