Rail minister visits city to mark launch of delay repay scheme
PUBLISHED: 17:03 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:31 01 April 2019
The rail minister says a new compensation scheme for rail users was not rolled out as a distraction from the delays and cancellations faced by passengers.
On Monday, April 1, rail operator Greater Anglia introduced its new Delay Repay Scheme (DR15), which will mean passengers travelling on the network will be able to claim back 25pc of a single fare when a service is delayed by 15 to 29 minutes, regardless of the cause of the delay.
Visiting Norwich on Monday to mark the launch of the new scheme, Andrew Jones, the minister responsible for railways at the Department for Transport, said the new scheme was “all about having a much more customer-centred railway”.
And when asked whether passengers would see the new scheme as a distraction from ongoing rail improvements and delays, he said it was part of a “bigger change” across the network, including new trains and four faster services on the mainline to London.
“It’s not a question of DR15 coming in to distract things, it’s DR15 and the faster services and the new rolling stock - it all adds up to a better service for Anglia passengers,” he said.
“Here in East Anglia we’re seeing a complete fleet renewal starting this summer and rolling through 2020, so it’s a major step change.
“Are people looking for the change quicker? Yes absolutely, I entirely agree with them but we can’t do everything all at once.”
Mr Jones said the government was also putting pressure on Network Rail to speed up works on the line, which frequently sees bus replacement services operating at weekends.
He said: “We know we need to do more on the maintenance of our network and it’s not really possible to that without having some interventions.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “The introduction of 15-minute Delay Repay compensation on Greater Anglia is a welcome step for passengers – it is something Transport Focus has pressed government for.”
Independent rail watchdog Transport Focus ranked Greater Anglia in the bottom five of all UK rail operators for customer satisfaction. Its autumn survey found that 73pc of passengers were satisfied with their journeys on Greater Anglia.
The previous year the figure was 81pc.