Virgin are the first company to automatically compensate for train delays

Tuesday 6th October 2015

From 3 October, passengers using Virgin’s services on the West Coast mainline, who book tickets on the company app or website, will receive automatic repayments. The good news follows the announcement that delayed passengers now have the right to compensation being credited to the card they used for the purchase, where previously compensation took the form of vouchers.

Compensation will be available to passengers if:

  • They have used a Virgin West Coast Mainline service (the scheme may later be rolled out to Virgin’s East Coast service).
  • They booked the tickets for travel through the Virgin website, or via the app.
  • They purchased an advance ticket for a specified train.
  • Virgin is confident that a delay of at least 30 minutes occurred. Journeys which involve multiple operators will not be eligible under the scheme; and
  • Passengers were not told about the delays before they bought a ticket.

According to Virgin, at least 3.5m journeys will qualify for possible claims, and passengers who do not qualify for automatic compensation can still apply in the normal way. However, research has shown that most passengers do not bother claim even when they are eligible.

Individual train companies offer different levels of compensation, but the best deals – including Virgin’s – involve:

  • up to a 50% refund on a single ticket for delays of between 30 minutes and an hour
  • up to a 100% refund on a single ticket for a delay of between one and two hours
  • up to a 100% refund on the cost of a return ticket for delays of more than two hours

Sophie Wilson at transport industry experts Gordons says, “ I think this is a step in the right direction for the rail industry and one which passengers will welcome. Virgin are leading the way to ensure passengers are fairly compensated for disruptions to their journeys which aren’t their fault. The conditions of eligibility will probably mean there is an increase in traffic to Virgin’s website and users of the app, which is great for the company. Let’s hope other operators implement similar schemes nationwide”.

Click here to read the article in BBC News.