Greater Anglia pays commuter who sued over delays

By Mariam Issimdar
BBC East

Image source, Seph Pochin/BBC
Image caption, Seph Pochin has now received payment after a court issued a warrant for bailiffs to seize Greater Anglia property

A commuter who sued a train firm over delays has received compensation after a court threatened to send in bailiffs to seize its assets.

Seph Pochin, 43, of Halesworth, Suffolk, has received a cheque for £462 from Greater Anglia (GA) after suing them over "appalling" delays.

He said he wanted others to use the same consumer legislation to force train firms to run a better service.

GA said it was "sorry that Mr Pochin felt the need to take this action."

"Generally, just under 90% of GA trains run on time," a spokeswoman for the rail franchise said.

A warrant was issued last month for bailiffs to seize GA property after it failed to comply with a judgement in December ordering it to pay Mr Pochin's £350 claim.

He has now received that amount, plus costs.

Image caption, Mr Pochin, who commutes daily to Ipswich, is moving home to avoid travelling by train

The ecologist, who moved to Halesworth a year ago, used the Consumer Rights Act 2015, paying £35 to lodge small claims court case "to highlight the regular deficiencies with the service".

"I hope the victory encourages others to do like me, and maybe Greater Anglia and other train companies will learn from this as well," he said.

"You can't just ignore passengers, many of them who have no choice but to use the railways, and shunt them off with pre-drafted letters for their extremely poor service."

He documented 550 journeys in which he experienced 183 delays, claiming this amounted to about 28 hours wasted over 12 months.

According to his figures, the majority of the delays were between one and 10 minutes, 26 were of more than 15 minutes, and there was one 100-minute delay in August.

'Train faults'

The train firm admitted previously that 23% of delays were "directly attributable to Greater Anglia due to incidents such as train faults".

Its "delay repay" scheme only meets passenger claims for delays of more than 30 minutes.

Network Rail, which runs the rail infrastructure, automatically compensates train firms for any delays attributable to it.

"Our delay repay scheme is the usual route for claiming compensation for delays," the spokeswoman for GA said.

She added it was "looking into" introducing compensation for journeys delayed by 15 minutes and that GA was spending more than £5m improving train reliability, with Network Rail investing £68m to replace local signals and points.

Despite winning his case, Mr Pochin said he would be leaving "beautiful" Halesworth and moving to Ipswich next month to avoid commuting by train.

"I don't need the stress of checking morning and afternoon for delays from an appalling service," he said.

Image source, Seph Pochin/BBC
Image caption, The Southend County Court order notifying Greater Anglia payment to Mr Pochin

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