Northern Rail refusal to compensate on multi-modal tickets

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by yorkie, 18 Nov 2018.

  1. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    https://www.parliament.uk/business/...s/written-question/Commons/2018-03-15/132871/
    It is the view of the Department for Transport that Delay Repay does apply to multi-modal tickets, such as Metro Cards:
    I understand Northern Rail are still refusing to comply with this.

    Has anyone on here had a recent claim refused? Have you tried making a claim through Small Claims Court? What did Transport Focus say?

    Another option could be to keep a log of all rejected claims and make a Section 75 claim from your card issuer (if you purchased a Metro Card costing more than £100, such as an annual ticket, with a personal credit card)

    Anyone in the media interested in covering this story? I am happy to help...
     
    Last edited: 18 Nov 2018
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  3. asharpe

    asharpe Member

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  4. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    The company have said for some time that Railpass tickets are not eligible for compensation on strike days under the Delay Repay scheme because they're "issued on behalf of a PTE".

    This is despite the fact that, as the name suggests, they aren't even multi-modal!
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    What is quite interesting is that the London and South East TOCs (well, Southern, LM as was and LNR as is now) do cough up on Travelcards, and not only that but on the rather favourable-to-the-passenger interpretation that the ticket is only used for a simple return journey. So you could ride round the Zones all day, but if your train home was 2 hours late you'd still get the whole outboundary Travelcard fare back.

    It is no great surprise that Northern are taking the mick, though, as is their wont.
     
  6. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    From the MCard site:

    https://www.m-card.co.uk/faqs/

    As a user of an MCard I have long been aware that Metro, as the owner of the product, make it clear that MCards are not covered by the normal Delay Repay scheme. Now whether this is morally and/or legally right is under debate and untested. I would certainly be interested to know if it should be, but as a product not owned by a TOC and without Delay Repay negociated as part of this I would be suprised if this could easily be reversed, at least without a substantial cost to it's users.
     
  7. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    The terms of the M Card are in themselves inconsistent.

    They say that Delay Repay does not apply "because" it is a multi modal ticket, which is a non-sequitor. There will only very rarely be an alternative means of public transport covered by an M Card that will enable any delay caused by a train cancellation to be mitigated. So what relevance the fact that it is a multi modal product has, is beyond me.

    Furthermore, it states that passengers are still eligible for compensation under the relevant operators' Passenger's Charters. Delay compensation is set out in these very charters, so how exactly does that not totally contradict the previous statement then?!

    And furthermore, are they seriously suggesting that travel on National Rail services on an M Card is not subject to the NRCoT? Because if it is, as seems almost certain to be the case, then surely NRCoT 33 means that passengers are indeed entitled to compensation, as, unlike some other terms (e.g. 14.3), there is no means for excluding certain tickets from being eligible for compensation.

    The fact that the terms purport to exclude an M Card from compensation also does not exempt the M Card from the implied term that the service will be performed with reasonable care and skill. For delays within the control of the rail industry, that may well mean that term is breached. For a breach of that implied term, the consumer is entitled to a price reduction, aka a partial refund. Is that not analogous to delay compensation? I would say so; it means that there is already an automatic scheme for delay compensation where the delay is within the rail industry's control. So like the old Passenger's Charter arrangements that some TOCs (most notably GWR) still use.

    Overall, it is far from obvious that the M Card terms succeed in excluding it from compensation. I don't think it is possible at all, really, in the context of a ticket valid on National Rail services, and in the context of a ticket bought by a consumer (as opposed to a business).
     
  8. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    Indeed. I would also question, given all that you have set out, if the T&Cs which purport to exclude the product from Delay Relay themselves breach the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the latest legislation which addresses unfair terms and conditions of contract). If a Court is asked to decide it could get very expensive very fast for WYTCL...
     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The existence of an infair/illegal term doesn't override the legal and contractual position!

    Train companies are required to comply with the terms of their franchise agreements, relevant legislation and agreements.

    You are looking at it from the wrong way around; the suggestion that an unfair term negates the legal and contractual position is absurd.

    See my post above! There is no debate about these facts.
    It is irrelevant who 'owns' the product. Northern get the revenue and pocket the money when they don't provide the advertised service.

    Delay Repay is negotiated with the DfT as part of the franchise agreement; not on an individual product basis.

    It is a fact that Metro Card holders are entitled to Delay Repay, regardless of what Northern or Metro say.

    That isn't up for debate. What is up for debate is what happens next, which may depend on what legal actions are taken, how much Maps take notice, and how much media coverage this gets....
     
  10. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    The rail industry appears to regard itself as some special case which is entitled to set it's own rules above the law. I sincerely hope that certain TOCs (Northern right up there at the front of the queue) get some VERY expensive lessons in the Courts.... and, given that they would be crucified by public opinion and the media if they did so (possibly also the EU for illegal state aid), there is no way that any politician will sanction use of public funds to bail then out.
     
  11. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    I'm sorry Yorkie but there is a debate about this. Northern are a vendor of MCards (as are Metro at their bus stations, and of course through the mobile apps), they as far as I know don't pocket all the receipts because the revenue has to be shared amongst all TOCs, and all bus operators in West Yorkshire as well as whatever amount goes back to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (whose funds are dwindling). By all means seek legal action this, but simply closing the debate because you don't think its correct doesn't change the fact that this has been in place for as long as Delay Repay has been in existence, without any legal challenge and in the full knowledge of all responsible parties. Is it right? That's another matter, but the debate is very much open.

    And then even if some legal recourse found it illegal, and required Delay Repay for MCards how would this be enforced? For example in London, the Oyster cards have a tap-in, tap-out system to log the use of the cards. Most West Yorkshire stations do not have tap-in points, in fact it is still very possible to use a MCard for a length of time without any log of its use, and as MCards are transferrable multiple people can use them over a period of time. Simply enforcing Delay Repay, whilst doubtless very welcome to users initially, would leave the scheme open to widespread abuse and almost certainly resulting in Northern wanting a lot more of the share to cover this, costs that would be passed by the WYCA to the passengers. That's not saying it shouldn't apply by the way, but there would be consequences.

    I'm not against Delay Repay in itself, especially for longer delays (I'm still not sure that a 15 minute delay really requires compensation frankly). But we are risking getting into the situation where it becomes an increasing burden, after all most of the payments come from Network Rail, which in turn comes from DfT, which comes from The Treasury, which comes from the taxpayers. If costs rise too much, especially if as a result of abuse, then I can see some politicians (my local MP would definitely be one) using this to put the skids under the whole scheme. I can see their argument now, "Taxpayers subsidising people for being delayed a few minutes". For some more cynical politicians, that's political gold.
     
  12. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    Northern (and other relevant TOCs) are already being compensated by Network Rail for delays. All that the current situation does is allow them not to pass on some of that money to affected passengers who happen to be traveling with one particular ticket type (something which DfT have said is wrong). There would be NO extra compensation from Network Rail if that changes.
     
  13. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    In that case that hits the margins of the company, who will seek to recover that from elsewhere, for example asking the WYCA to contribute more. This is the nature of private industry, nothing is for free. And I'll state because I know how opinion here can spiral out of control, I am not necessarily against Delay Repay for MCard users where serious disruption occurs. I do however see the need for debate on the matter, as well as caution because MCards are very flexible without being very trackable. The potential for abuse could be great, so any enforcement would need serious consideration.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    So are London Travelcards, but full Delay Repay compensation is still paid on those.
     
  15. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Well that is obviously as a result of an agreement between the owners of that scheme & the TOCs. This, as shown below does not exist in respect to the MCard:

    https://www.m-card.co.uk/news/mcard...dditional-compensation-scheme-for-rail-users/

    So as far as Metro / WYCA are concerned, MCards are outside the remit of Delay Repay for any journeys in West Yorkshire, save any that might have had special arrangements with Northern / TPE as detailed up-thread. I feel fairly confident at this point that DfT, Transport Focus and any other associated bodies would be aware of this, and if they felt it was not the correct course of action taken the necessary steps to enforce Delay Repay.

    Again, I'm not saying its right just how it is, and how its been for quite some time. Its also worth remembering that MCards can be very good value, for the cost of just under £115pcm I can commute daily which otherwise would cost me in excess of £200pcm, and that's not including using it for leisure. So you should at least be able to see why this situation exists, the revenue (around £30M for 2017-18 I believe) has to be spread pretty thinly across the interested parties. If Northern started to repay for delays, especially where verification of itinerates would be practically impossible, they would doubtless expect WYCA to increase their share (possibly not morally right, but this is business) which would more or less instantly have to be passed onto the passengers. So any move towards Delay Repay needs careful consideration of the consequences.
     
  16. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I will grant you the transferability aspect is different but otherwise such a product is no different a Travelcard. There is no ability to touch in/out a paper Travelcard in London and yet Delay Repay will still be offered.


    Considering that Delay Repay is a DfT lead initiative that they are writing into Franchise Agreements and the Rail Minister from the DfT said the following:

    You'll forgive me, therefore, for saying that the DfT cannot be too concerned by any costs that they my incur. Indeed such a statement suggests that they will have been factored into the scheme from the start.
     
  17. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    As per my previous reply, I expect that the Travelcard owners (presumably TfL?) will have made arrangements with the TOCs, whereas Metro / WYCA have not.

    As for the DfT, they will be concerned by the cost (and watch this space as budgets are squeezed further), and the Minister may well believe it but may not be sighted on such exceptions that are in existence.
     
  18. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Northern should be paying delay repay on these sorts of tickets. If I travel on a regular ticket on a journey with multiple train companies operating on the route, a TOC would not try and limit my delay repay amount on the basis they have only had a share of the revenue on the ticket, not all of it.

    Serious question though, Northern operate in a lot of PTE areas. Yorkshire, Manchester, Newcastle, Merseyside - plus more. Therefore will have a lot of multi model tickets. Is anyone aware of them rejecting delay repay PTE claims in other areas aside from Yorkshire?

    I am aware of them doing this in Merseyside. This is a massive widespread issue they need taking to task on.

    While they are still refusing to pay out, anyone with a claim should claim anyway and make sure Northern give it to them in writing or email the outcome. Then when this matter is finally corrected they will have to pay up.
     
  19. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Does the PTE in Merseyside have a similar caveat to that of WY Metro on Delay Repay exemption?
     
  20. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm sorry but this seems bizarre. A statement from the Rail Minister in answer to a Parliamentary question will have been past his Civil Servant support (indeed they will have written it for him). So to suggest that they do not know how a scheme they devised and implemented is supposed to work strikes me as almost unbelievable.
     
  21. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    Absolutely. Of course the matter should also be taken further - a letter to your MP asking him/her to engage with DfT quoting Jo Johnson could be interesting...
     
    Last edited: 19 Nov 2018
  22. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As you have already been told a contract that contains an unfair/illegal term doesn't override the legal position. I would be interested to hear how you'd defend against an action brought by a passenger via Small Claims beyond pointing at that because I would suspect the Court would be more minded to go with the preponderance of evidence suggesting that the intent behind the scheme was as stated by the relevant Minister.
     
  23. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    As a current Civil Servant, albeit thankfully never in DfT, who has drafted such responses (which have to be signed off at the responsible Senior Civil Service - ie upper management - level) l can confirm that your understanding of the process is spot on.
     
  24. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I do not know the answer to that. However I know it stares that's travel is subject to the conditions of travel on the operator's on whose services are being used. Northern have repeatedly told my uncle travelling on a Merseytravel PTE product (one paid for, not a free pass) when he has asked Northern staff at his local station and on the phone to their Customer Expensive Centre, that he cannot claim delay repay for individual journeys because he doesn't have a normal train ticket.
     
  25. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    The obvious response, copied to his MP, is to ask them to show where in the Delay Repay documentation it says that. Ask the MP to ask DfT the same question.
     
  26. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Welcome to the public sector....

    I am not defending the position, simply stating how it is. If other PTEs as suggested above also have products that have exceptions, then frankly I would be amazed (though maybe not that amazed) if DfT were not aware of such.

    Just as an aside, when I first started in the public sector (sorry, but for professional reasons I prefer not to say where), one of the first things an instructor said to us was "For every situation there is a rule, and for every rule there is an exception.". Its as true today as it was, so much so that back in the early days I actually thought the series 'Yes Minister' was a documentary....

    That doesn't mean the responses are always correct, or are made with full awareness of the facts. They should be in principle, but in practice they aren't always. And I can say this with confidence from over three decades of public service. including a lot of exposure to these kind of procedures.
     
  27. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I'll start getting my uncle to claim anyway, so there is a paper trail. Unfortunately most people would just not bother claiming once the booking office or customer service has told them they cant. Surprises me the amount of friends who will complain their train was delayed but will not have kept hold of their ticket or even noted the train time to enable a valid delay repay claim.
     
  28. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    Re Yes Minister l agree.

    Statements to Parliament, including answers to questions, must always be accurate. Civil Servants can face disciplinary action if they are not. They may not, however, always include material which is potentially relevant but not within direct scope of the question.
     
  29. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    That's correct, they *should* always be accurate. Whether or not they are is another matter, through no fault of the person(s) drafting the response, communication channels, understanding of the nature of the question, confusion over procedure, regulation or legislation can all fail at some point along the communications trail. I cannot say why I know this to be true, but I do.
     
  30. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    OSA88 l assume.
     
  31. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Well 1989, but yes....
     

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