SWT Gold Card refunds at time of renewal

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0553

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Good evening...Long time lurker, first time poster :)

So this week i renewed my SWT gold card and got a nasty surprise really. When i did this a year ago, i received - i think - a 3 figure refund to account for days when the performance was really bad.

This year i got £5.20 (off a £3k ticket). What's changed? i spoke with a guy at the gold service phone line who, although polite, couldn't help and asked me to email.

As well as asking what has changed - those travelling by SWT will know that its been a difficult year performance wise, and i would contend no better than in 2014/15 - i'm also interested to understand whether it is worth my while emailing.

The guy on the phone said something around void days. i thought i understood these somewhat a year ago, but now not - it is completely counter-intuitive that the refund has reduced to such a low level given the level of delays (qv as it happens tonight at Waterloo).

Your thoughts welcome, cheers
 
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swt_passenger

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Sounds like no punctuality discount, because in the last year they scraped over the threshold, and your service group was only due half a void day.

Punctuality and reliability stats will be online: http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/our-performance.aspx#183096

The lack of an annual discount if charter standards are being achieved is why most TOCS have been moved onto Delay Repay, where you claim for individual single journeys.
 

bb21

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What journey is your ticket for?
 

0553

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Many thanks...

Ticket is from Claygate

The link to SWT website was very helpful, thanks. And I understand that might be at the crux of this now. I do understand the stats are year ending 9th Jan, and my ticket ran out in February, but also I see that there are 2.5 'suburban' void days-so at least I should be receiving a refund to that value, yes?

Moving forward, is this telling me that I have to claim directly every time my train is over 30 minutes late?

Cheers
 

CyrusWuff

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The number of void days is determined by which "Charter Service Group" your journey falls into. SWT have four "Mainline" groups, three "Suburban" and Island Line, broken down as follows:
  • Mainline (Group 1) : Waterloo - Weymouth (HY08 in the Track Access Agreement)
  • Mainline (Group 2) : Waterloo - Portsmouth Harbour (HY07)
  • Mainline (Group 3) : Waterloo - West of England (HY03)
  • Mainline (Group 4) : Waterloo - Farnham/Alton (HY04)
  • Suburban (Group 5) : Waterloo - Windsor/Hounslow/Weybridge (HY05)
  • Suburban (Group 6) : Waterloo - Reading/Aldershot (HY06)
  • Suburban (Group 7) : Other Suburban services (HY01)
  • Island Line (Group 8)

Claygate falls within Suburban Group 7 for discount/void day purposes, but what you're entitled to will depend on when the ticket was renewed.

Tickets renewed between Sunday 17th January and Saturday 13th February (inclusive) potentially qualify for 2.5 days, made up of 5 half days as follows: 14th, 19th, 20th and 22nd January 2015, and 1st July 2015.

Renewals from Sunday 14th February would only attract the half day for 1st July 2015.
 

greatkingrat

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Here are the latest void day figures for February. I assume Claygate comes under group 7 in which case the only void day was 1/2 day on 1st July. It looks like there were two void days in Jan 2015 which have now dropped out of the calculations which is why it has gone down from 2.5 to 0.5 in Feb.
 

0553

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Thanks for all the information, I understand how it works now, though obviously slightly frustrating at missing out on 2 days' refunds by renewing when I did. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Just to come back to my secondary question. It feels (given the amount of service disruption I am facing) that I'll need to start going down the route of claiming refunds on an individual days' basis. But then I read the info at the link below. Is this really saying that I can't claim anything back for as and when delays, whilst those buying singles and returns - and thus investing far less in their SWT journey - can? What am I missing please?

http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/compensation.aspx

Many thanks
 

greatkingrat

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You haven't actually missed out on anything, the two void days in Jan 2015 would have already been refunded as part of your last renewal in Feb 2015.
 

0553

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Fair point, thanks. I will be grateful for any insight into my other point though. Many thanks
 

Hadders

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Is this really saying that I can't claim anything back for as and when delays, whilst those buying singles and returns - and thus investing far less in their SWT journey - can?

Season ticket holders travel at the cheapest rate, in many cases less than the off-peak day return price!

It might not seem like it when you pay for a years worth of travel up front but the people paying most for their journeys are those that buy daily Anytime tickets.
 

swt_passenger

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Thanks for all the information, I understand how it works now, though obviously slightly frustrating at missing out on 2 days' refunds by renewing when I did. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Just to come back to my secondary question. It feels (given the amount of service disruption I am facing) that I'll need to start going down the route of claiming refunds on an individual days' basis. But then I read the info at the link below. Is this really saying that I can't claim anything back for as and when delays, whilst those buying singles and returns - and thus investing far less in their SWT journey - can? What am I missing please?

http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/compensation.aspx

Many thanks

It isn't your option to change to claiming for individual journeys. SWT don't operate that type of scheme yet, known as 'delay repay'. It will probably come in shortly after the next franchise starts.
 

0553

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Many thanks for all the insights. As you see I've not exactly been a keen follower of SWT's refund rules, because generally I've accepted the situation and got on with it. I would contend that the lack of a repay scheme is exactly why so many SWT commuters feel such resentment towards the company (and i think I now put myself in that category. But for the avoidance of doubt not towards the staff, the vast majority of which I've found to be good to excellent over the years). Cheers
 

bb21

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With the current compensation arrangement, some people who experience little delay can get a renewal discount while others who experience lots of delays don't, so as you say, swings and roundabouts. That is part of the reason why the TOCs are gradually switching over to the new Delay Repay arrangement as they start new franchises.

Of course with Delay Repay, you don't get anything automatically, and have to submit a claim for each and every journey you are delayed sufficiently on, so again, swings and roundabouts.
 

infobleep

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With the current compensation arrangement, some people who experience little delay can get a renewal discount while others who experience lots of delays don't, so as you say, swings and roundabouts. That is part of the reason why the TOCs are gradually switching over to the new Delay Repay arrangement as they start new franchises.

Of course with Delay Repay, you don't get anything automatically, and have to submit a claim for each and every journey you are delayed sufficiently on, so again, swings and roundabouts.
What is the reason South West Trains couldn't switch to delay repay sooner? Does it lose the companies more money? If so does this mean other companies only do it because the DfT asked them to?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Incidentally if their are issues affecting Claygate, you may at times be better off catching the K3 to Surbiton and hoping that doesn't get stuck in traffic of course. Only £1.50.
 

swt_passenger

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What is the reason South West Trains couldn't switch to delay repay sooner? Does it lose the companies more money? If so does this mean other companies only do it because the DfT asked them to?

SWT had just started a new franchise when delay repay was first mooted by DfT, therefore if all franchise lengths were similar you'd expect them to be one of the last to transfer. I expect SWT (or the successor franchisee) are simply waiting to be explicitly told to introduce it as part of the next franchise specification.

There was a report somewhere (in response to an FOI maybe?) that said most TOCs that have changed actually pay out less under delay repay, because some people do not claim. No doubt exact figures will be subject to commercial confidentiality.
 

bb21

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I suspect that the lack of change is largely down to the fact that, one, it costs a lot of money from proposing to finally implementing any changes in franchise terms - money no side was willing to pay - and that two, there has been little pressure from the DfT to have the current system changed.
 

infobleep

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I suspect that the lack of change is largely down to the fact that, one, it costs a lot of money from proposing to finally implementing any changes in franchise terms - money no side was willing to pay - and that two, there has been little pressure from the DfT to have the current system changed.
Why does it cost so much to make changes. It is due to the legal procedures required. I Eman if South West Trains wishes to run an additional service they can. I'm not doubting there are good reasons for it being the case though.
 

bb21

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Anything with potential impact on company finance is likely to take a good while to resolve, especially if there is a risk of a revenue shortfall. You then have to talk to the DfT, who when faced with such a shortfall can be pretty difficult to negotiate with. None of this would be quick, and time basically means money. Don't forget all the associated costs in personnel, etc, while this process is carried out.

Running additional services may not be a major issue, however running fewer services than what you declared and trying to get some flexibility from the DfT can be a right PITA, even when this was necessitated through factors beyond one's control.
 
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