Good news for long-suffering commuters — Southeastern has announced it's introducing delay repay for delays of 15 minutes or more.
Currently the train operating company's threshold sits at 30 minutes, (if your train arrives at your destination anywhere between one and 29 minutes late, you don't receive any financial compensation). It's a frustratingly common occurrence — just this Tuesday we chugged into Cannon Street 28 minutes late, meaning we were almost half an hour late to Londonist Towers (sorry, boss) but were unable to claim a penny.
Under the new rules, that delay would have earned us approximately £2.63 (12.5% of the cost of our return journey from Kent) — not a life-changing amount, but enough to keep us in avocados for the week.
Rates of compensation for delays of more than 30 minutes will remain the same under the new scheme as they currently are (shown below).
Commuters have repeatedly asked Southeastern for the 15 minute threshold to be introduced, but until now have always been told it wouldn't happen until the start of a new franchise. Other train companies, including much-maligned competitors Southern and Thameslink, have been offered 15 minute delay repay since December 2016.
Perhaps Southeastern knows it's skating on thin ice. It's earned something of a cat-with-nine-lives reputation with customers, due to the way in which the introduction of a new franchise — originally due in June 2018 — has been repeatedly delayed.
Most recently, in April 2019, an extension to its franchise was awarded until 10 November 2019, with an option to extend further until 1 April (no jokes please) 2020. So could this new delay repay announcement be a last-ditch attempt at currying favour with regular commuters before the franchise decision is made?
No specific date has been given for the delay repay change — all we know is that it'll be sometime 'this autumn'. In a video announcing the news, Southeastern also said that the changes will be made to the website so that claims can be made in half the time.
We’re improving the compensation we offer if you’re delayed. Delay Repay 15 arrives this Autumn and means you’ll receive money back if you’re delayed by 15 minutes or more: https://t.co/1v2yJYuk1T pic.twitter.com/cW2Ym1T7i9— Southeastern (@Se_Railway) June 13, 2019
David Statham, Southeastern's Managing Director, said:
I don’t want any of our passengers to be delayed, but if they are it's really important that we compensate them properly. That’s why I'm delighted to announce these improvements to Delay Repay, which will make a real difference for people who experience shorter delays of between 15 and 30 minutes.
Find out more about Delay Repay 15 on the Southeastern website.