Thousands more ScotRail passengers claiming refunds for delayed journeys

The number of passengers claiming refunds for delayed ScotRail trains has risen sharply in the last nine months, according to Scottish Labour.

Its figures show 110,661 claims were made in the first three quarters of the present financial year, up from 72,984 for the full 2017-18 period.

As well as this 52% rise, Labour said there were more refund claims in a two-month period last year than in the whole of 2015-16.

Passengers who have been delayed by 30 minutes or more can claim some or all or their fare back under ScotRail’s Delay Repay scheme.

The number of claims has increased from 23,816 in 2015-16 to 110,661 in 2018-19, with figures from the first 12 weeks of 2019 yet to come.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “These figures underline the chaos and misery faced by rail passengers across the country.

“Behind these thousands of claims are individuals having to miss job interviews, medical appointments and time with their family after a hard day’s work.

“Scottish Labour says enough is enough.”

He added: “The Transport Secretary must finally listen to the public and strip Abellio of the contract at the earliest opportunity and bring our railways in public ownership.

“If he refuses to do so then the next Labour government will ensure passengers get a rail system that they can rely on.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “It is only right that passengers are compensated when their rail journey is delayed.

“As part of the franchise agreement, we secured a clear and straightforward Delay Repay process, whereby passengers can claim compensation in the event that their service is subject to any delay lasting over 30 minutes.

“Ministers fully expect performance to improve at the earliest opportunity to meet franchise and regulatory targets, and that can only be achieved by delivering strong performance now.”

He added: “ScotRail has been made aware of the necessity for them to meet these expectations.

“If ScotRail does not deliver its contractual commitments in the remedial agreement, it runs the risk of the franchise being terminated early.

“ScotRail recently committed an extra £18 million to improve improvements for customers to tackle train crew and train fleet challenges, along with initiatives to support performance improvement.”

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to providing the best possible service for our customers and our Delay Repay guarantee is at heart of that approach.

“We know how much of an inconvenience it is to customers when things don’t go to plan and it is only right that they are compensated when that happens.

“The Delay Repay system is easy to use and we regularly remind our customers to claim for compensation if their journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more.

“While it has been a challenging time for Scotland’s railway, things are improving and more trains are arriving on time than ever before.

“Everyone at the ScotRail Alliance is working flat out to provide customers with the service they expect and deserve.”