Rail Travel Vouchers to be replaced by cash refunds/compensation.

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by bignosemac, 6 Jun 2015.

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  1. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    From the BBC:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33008010

    Somewhat out of the blue is this announcement. Very welcome it is too. Implementation and logistics will be interesting. Particularly when it's one TOC receiving the request for compensation and another TOC responsible for compensating for the delay. Will it be cheques issued by post? A requirement for card/bank details to process payments? Vouchers exchangeable for cash? Or multiple options? The devil will be in the detail.
     
  2. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    I have no problem with the existing scheme. Curious that they would seek to ditch it. Make the vouchers easier to use, sure, perhaps by adding an e-voicher option. But I don't think cash is necessary.

    I shall be unhappy if it is cheques. Otherwise I'll wait and see.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2015
  3. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    TfL recently started offering refunds instead of Vouchers, with money being payed back into
    Oyster accounts or as an electronic funds transfer into bank accounts.

    I feel the compensation scheme is alresdy fairly generous; there are plenty of real issues Transport Focus could have campaigned on; this is not one of them.
     
  4. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I guess it's a no brainer option though, as it must be cheaper to do a bank payment than issue vouchers, post them, then have to handle them at stations etc.

    By just paying back cash, eventually stations won't need to process them at all.

    It's clearly being done to save the industry money, and it's also a PR win. Wonder why it wasn't done sooner?
     
  5. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    Good idea on the face of it but in classic BBC style the reporter fails to explain how a Californian couple will recieve compensation paid in STG to a USD bank account. The fees levied on their side could well be half the payment! Cheques would be even worse.
     
  6. DelayRepay

    DelayRepay Member

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    Not sure about that Jon - you would have to factor in:
    - People more likely to claim if they're getting cash (especially irregular train users who might not bother with vouchers)
    - I expect there are a lot of vouchers that never get used, either because people don't have an opportunity, can't be bothered or forget about them
    - Possibly an increase in fraudulent claims.

    I'll welcome this, but they cynic in me wonders if the TOCs have agreed to to it because it removes another barrier to closing or reducing hours of ticket officers.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Credit card refund? Assuming that was how they paid for the tickets.

    I expect the number of foreign tourists trying to claim compensation is low (in their case, it wasn't even for a delay) so I think this couple was a poor example to use in the news report.
     
  7. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Planned changes to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage..... eeek
     
  8. Train2Win

    Train2Win Member

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  9. chubs

    chubs Member

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    Good!

    I like to buy my tickets online, getting vouchers means having to schlep to the station then queue for ages.
     
  10. Goatboy

    Goatboy Established Member

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    I don't welcome this. Hear me out..

    I personally think a full cash refund for a 2 hour delay is excessive. I sometimes (Not very often anymore, it's now HALF the price to drive so it's difficult to make the case for rail) make a 4-5 hour rail journey. It is enormously irritating when I am delayed by 2 hours but I still get there - and my return leg is often on time - so to be able to travel this entire journey free of charge by virtue of a cash refund for a delay is whilst lovely for me incredible disproportionate.

    Vouchers offer a slightly different form of compensation which I think is more appropriate to the inconvenience offered.

    Frankly having to offer things like this is yet another cost pressure on the rail industry and makes the prospect of reasonably priced fares ever further away. Sigh.
     
  11. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    You are already entitled to cash refunds after delays during air travel, so I'm pleased the railway industry are finally going to join us in the 21st century. I'd expect bank transfers to be cheaper to administer than the current system of posting the vouchers out and then doing the accounting when they are spent. Vouchers are as out-dated as travel warrants.
     
  12. Minilad

    Minilad Established Member

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    I bet Virgin will tighten up their procedures for giving out RTVs like they are sweets now then
     
  13. Goatboy

    Goatboy Established Member

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    The air travel thing is ridiculous, too. Whilst I'd welcome a 650 euro cash payout after a 3 hour delay on a long haul journey there is no way I'd have suffered 650 euro worth of distress. It's just disproportionate. Most peoples tickets don't even cost that.
     
  14. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    Rail Delivery Group. It's about the first time since it was set up that I've heard of it doing anything !!!
     
  15. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Iteresting that the report specifically refers to compensation for delays. Presumably RTVs will remain in existence for other reasons.
     
  16. chubs

    chubs Member

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    So because you like to drive rail users shouldn't be given cash refunds?

    Vouchers really aren't appropriate, what if the customer is not a regular traveller and wont use them for some time?

    This is clearly the way forward and should have happened a long time ago.

    I also hope it isn't cheques.
     
  17. SS4

    SS4 Established Member

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    Indeed. I shall not be surprised if they haven't snuck in a raft of measures eroding passengers' rights but let the media focus on this one.
     
  18. A1

    A1 Member

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    I think this is a good change. Save postage fees, printing fees, handling fees, processing fees, and as some TOCs (Eg Southern) were treating them the same as cash, why go through the paper route.
     
  19. Goatboy

    Goatboy Established Member

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    I have absolutely no idea how you came to that conclusion from what I said.

    It obviously is the way forward but it shouldn't be - unless the compensation levels are reduced. Do you really think that a journey from say London to Scotland that is perfectly on time on the outward leg and 2 hours late on the way back should be completely free of charge by virtue of a cash refund?

    You actually think thats proportionate?

    The driving point was that rail fares are, in some areas, already enormously expensive and increasing cost through cash refunds is surely not going to help matters.
     
  20. First class

    First class Established Member

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    You think this is a benefit? On the face of it, it looks like one.

    But how am I going to make this revenue neutral? By increasing connection times at stations artificially, by padding out timetables, by reducing "goodwill", by refusing 29/59 minute claims, by enforcing NRCoC rigidly, particularly delay exemptions etc.

    Additionally, more claims will be referred to Prosecutors, which inevitably will end up finding fraud cases when cash is involved.

    Personally, I will be looking at, and reviewing long distance Advance and non regulated fare increases if required.
     
  21. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    My understanding is that TVs are already accounted for as cash, so I don't see why everyone is predicting a huge increase in cost. Especially as TOCs already do supremely well out of delays already- for some TOCs, a delayed train is more profitable than a right-time train.
     
  22. Flamingo

    Flamingo Established Member

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    Given that it might make fraudulent claims a bit harder (and subject to greater penalties) I wonder if this will be universally welcomed by all who make regular claims. Also, the claims will be paid back to the penny - no more rounding it up to the nearest £5 or £10...
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2015
  23. Goatboy

    Goatboy Established Member

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    FGW already do so on RTV's anyway - I have an RTV here for exactly the cost of the ticket to the nearest penny.
     
  24. beefqueen

    beefqueen Member

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    The bigger issue is the disproportionate length of delay required (for some journeys) before there is any entitlement to even a partial refund.

    I commute on southeastern from SE London at least a few times a week. My journey should take about 20 minutes (it used to be under 20 minutes but they've padded the timetable since the LB work started). Nine times out of ten my journey is delayed by at least five minutes - a 25% delay; often by more than ten minutes (a 50% delay).

    It seems wrong to me that someone travelling on the same TOC from, say Margate, will get a refund for a half hour delay (a 33% or less delay) but I'm not entitled to any refund unless my journey is delayed by 150%. It's also wrong that if I were travelling by Underground I would be entitled to a refund for anything over 15 minutes.

    Why not calculate entitlement by percentage delay, rather than fixed minutes? The answer seems obvious - to save money.
     
  25. DownSouth

    DownSouth Established Member

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    And even cheaper would be a credit card refund, especially for people who purchased their ticket from a website or app operated by the TOC where the details would already be stored.

    Because a certain proportion of vouchers will go without being redeemed as people throw them away or forget about them, which allows the original revenue to stay in the system.

    This is why retail companies love gift vouchers/cards/tickets etc, because they get the money up front (which they can use to earn interest, purchase inventory or service debt) and a statistically predictable probability that they'll never get used. It's effectively a negative interest loan with a chance of no repayment being required.

    How much of a delay do you think is acceptable before it becomes fair to say that the contracted service has not been delivered and should therefore be refunded?

    How will partial refunds act as a deterrent to providing a shoddy service with no margin for error?

    If anything, it should be expanded to cover consequential losses which can be verified, e.g. a missed appointment or an event ticket becoming useless.

    It needs to be disproportionately high, otherwise it will not serve its main purpose of encouraging airlines to make their service more resilient.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    For sure.

    It should be the lesser of the proportional delay and the fixed time period (but perhaps with a slightly more generous fixed time) except if the proportional delay is a minor delay below a fixed minimum such as ten minutes.
     
  26. SS4

    SS4 Established Member

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    If your train is five minutes late isn't it classed as on time?

    As you've demonstrated it's an unfortunate fact of maths that percentagesare inflated when your original sample is small. To take this argument to it's conclusion LIC-LTV is three minutes so a five minute delay is 167%.

    Lateness is absolute in much of the world rather than percentage based. I am either late for work or an appointment or I am not late. My destination is not going to be open longer if I was delayed based on a percentage of total time. Being 5 or 10 minutes late generally more salvageable than 30 or 45 minutes.

    A hybrid would work best IMO. For example 50% of (scheduled) journey time subject to a minimum of fifteen minutes.
     
  27. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    I welcome this move. I am waiting to see if some TOCs will allow you to send vouchers back for a BACs/cheque payment. I am hoping Virgin West Coast will do this! I know London Midland already do for amounts £30+ I think a TOC will be more likely to approve such a request if you've got vouchers already, though once the new system is in place, as giving out cash in electronic form will become the norm.

    I love the Delay Repay system. I think it is fair and right if you are delayed then you should be compensated. Totally! I only wish it was a standardised system i.e. all TOCs operated under the provisions of Delay Repay and not just some.
     
  28. talldave

    talldave Established Member

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    If I pay a premium for a high speed service with a journey of 24/25 minutes, delay repay would make much more sense as a percentage calculation, bearing mind I've paid good money to halve the journey time.
     
  29. MrCub

    MrCub Member

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    I'm going to miss them. I know it's annoying not to be able to use them online because some advance tickets are online-only, but I rather enjoy saving them up and then buying a nice free trip somewhere. The cash will just get put back into the general 'pot' rather than being saved. Yes, I know this is silly and doesn't really work as an argument but to make the point, I've got £110 in vouchers and another couple of months until my Isle of Wight season/Gold Card needs renewing.
     
  30. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You know what? You spoke my mind exactly. There is no free lunch.

    However compensation is done, people will moan, unless things are free. To me, this is a waste of the limited resources for the likes of Passenger Focus. There are far more important issues such as Northern's queue times which affect many people on a daily basis rather than the form in which compensation is paid out.

    And yes, with this, I very much fear what other changes are forthcoming. The rail companies won't lose out, it will be the passengers (some passengers), or the taxpayers, who lose out in order to pay for this.
     
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