Call for automatic rail delay compensation payouts

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Rail passengers should be automatically compensated for delayed journeys, Scottish Labour has said.

At present, ScotRail passengers can claim back a partial or full refund for delays of 30 minutes or more.

Labour urged the operator to look at options to automatically pay out this money to passengers who paid by card, without the need to lodge a claim.

ScotRail said the existing compensation system was "quick and easy" for customers to claim back money.

Transport Scotland said there was already a "straightforward" system, but said any measures to make claims easier for passengers would be welcomed.

Under existing rules, passengers can claim back 50% of the cost of a single ticket, or 25% of the cost of a return if their journey is delayed by 30 to 59 minutes. They can claim back the full cost of a single ticket and 50% of a return for delays of one to two hours, and the full cost of a single or return ticket for delays of more than two hours.

Passengers have to apply for the "delay repay" compensation online or by post, but Scottish Labour said ScotRail should look at options for an automatic scheme for all passengers, including those on off-peak service or using advance tickets for specific services.

'Major problem'

The party's transport spokesman Neil Bibby said delayed trains were "still a major problem" despite recent improvements, saying: "Passengers have always been entitled to compensation for significant delays, but many are unaware of their rights. Scottish Labour has repeatedly called on the Scottish government to run an awareness campaign.

"Now we are going further and demanding that automatic compensation is introduced for passengers paying by card if their train is 30 minutes or more late."

A ScotRail Alliance spokesman said: "We know how frustrating any delay can be for customers, which is why we already offer compensation to customers who have been delayed by 30 minutes or more. There is an option for that to be paid electronically. It is quick and easy for customers to claim money back, particularly online."

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman added: "We have already secured a straightforward delay repay process whereby passengers on ScotRail can claim compensation if their service is delayed over 30 minutes.

"We welcome any measures which would make it easier for passengers to claim compensation and work with ScotRail is ongoing in this respect as part of our continuous improvement process for the franchise."

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf observed that ScotRail's trains had posted "another strong performance during the morning peak" on Tuesday, with punctuality above the UK average.

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