• Train delay compensation
    it all started after i was glancing idly with a Southern Railway performance poster while awaiting a delayed train. The posters are displayed across the network and proudly demonstrate how rail companies have hit their target for service performance - or at least the way they have run near it. But as I stared on the poster I wondered how more than 80% of trains were supposedly running punctually, yet my experience was nothing beats that.

    Late Trains
    In the beginning I thought a few bad days around the trains were clouding my perception, and actually most trains were running on time. However it didn’t ring true, so from the beginning of 2016 I began to keep a record of my journeys, comparing time I should have reached my destinations with once i actually did (or perhaps in certain cases did not).

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    Between the start of January and mid-April I needed lost greater than A day as a result of delayed or cancelled trains. So that as I write in early May, that figure is currently a lot more than 29 hours, which doesn’t include 2 days where I couldn’t travel as a result of strike. It is a evidence of how badly our rail services perform and the way this really is masked by clever presentation with the data.

    For the rail companies I use regularly, Southern and Thameslink, both operated by Govia, the newest official public performance measure (PPM) was that 82.5% of services were on time. However when I looked at my figures the photo was different: around 37% of services had arrived within a few minutes of their scheduled time. Some might argue that my figures can’t show the way the service is performing overall because they are to get a select few of journeys on limited routes and therefore statistically irrelevant. For many people they may be definitive, nevertheless they do reveal that my experience is nowhere close to the one the rail firms say I will be getting. I am certainly one of a huge selection of individuals who do the same or similar journeys and we all get affected. I wonder if really us recorded our journeys whether their data could be better mine or that of the rail companies?

    I commute daily from Horsham in Sussex to London, and that i usually finish my journey at London Bridge or City Thameslink. Until last year I had been commuting 32 miles to Chichester on near-empty trains, which cost me about £1,600 a year to get a journey of approximately one hour door-to-door. But, for a better job and salary, I traded it looking for the packed trains to London, increasing my journey by just six or seven miles. However, the fare rose to simply short of £4,000 per year. Your journey time also went up - it’s often more than a couple of hours door-to-door, and that’s without delays. Thankfully, I generally get a seat most mornings, but a change at East Croydon means sitting on packed trains. There are days when I’ve been not able to board a train because of the overcrowding.

    The hours lost to delays comprise a lot of snippets of your time - a couple of minutes in some places occasionally punctured by a horrendous delay. But no less than with major delays there's an possibility to claim compensation. Up to now in 2016 I have received about £60 from Govia for delays. This, though, is of little consolation for your constant late arrival at the office and achieving to experience catch-up. You can find days when I seem like Reggie Perrin as I reel off the latest excuse distributed by the rail company to be late. But it’s quite serious when it tarnishes your professional reputation: any meeting scheduled for before 9.30am sees me getting out of bed at 5.30am just to ensure I'll make it. And even then I have been late once or twice.

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     ‘There are days Personally i think like Reggie Perrin’

    Around the journey home it’s your family that suffer. I have four small children; if my train is delayed I won’t get to read with one of them, build a little Lego or play inside their Minecraft world. Minor things - but not if you’re four or seven years of age and have waited all day long some thing with daddy.

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    My spouse suffers similarly, waiting those few minutes more to the extra pair of hands to give her a rest. Evenings out are precious and few, but we now have often overlooked trips for the cinema because my late arrival has meant we can’t make it happen over time. Snippets of your time, perhaps, but they're persistent and cumulatively corrosive.

    So just why this difference between my experience and the PPMs? To begin with, they don’t reflect actual passenger journeys but you are instead an unrealistic method of attempting to capture punctuality. “Late” to get a rail company is arriving a few minutes late at your destination, using what occur in between irrelevant since the is through not taken 'till the end from the journey. So if the train is running late it might skip a few stations to make up. 5 minutes is also a wide margin. On other national railways, including those who work in Japan and Switzerland, the margin is slimmer for defining a train as late.

    Also, the figures the rail companies give on their posters are an aggregation over the day and the week; plus they don’t take into account the amount of people utilizing a train. So trains carrying a huge selection of people can be late regularly, but trains for a passing fancy route operating shortly before bedtime or in the weekend and carry only a handful of passengers can arrive on time and mask the large impact of the other service failures.

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    There is adequate details about compensation for cancelled and late trains when the delay is a lot more than thirty minutes, but can it be enough? Just over 7% of my journeys fell into the category where I could claim. Nevertheless the proportion of journeys Fifteen minutes late was nearly 20%.

    The train companies inform us that they're undertaking immeasureable attempt to improve their services, only if we could bear together a little longer - but it’s a promise that appears to be perpetually dangled facing us rather than fulfilled. The Reggie Perrin joke is 40 years old, but what has changed since that time, with the exception of the eye-wateringly high fares, supposedly to fund the rail nirvana that never comes?

    I understand that doesn't every issue is inside power over the rail companies or Network Rail. The elements brings circumstances that no level of preparation could deal with. And then there is the human factor: trespassers and fatalities, that are probably most challenging to manage, truly passengers are understanding about these. Overall, though, these take into account probably under 10% of delays, according to Network Rail. The truth is, most other delays are inside the scope of the rail firms or Network Rail to handle.

    The rail companies don't have the incentive to tackle this matter, since the treatments for the figures lies in their control. The “five minutes” on the terminus might have been acceptable within the era of British Rail if this used someone with a clipboard marking off the arrival time, but in age digital recording and data-sharing a more elaborate is through needed seems at the journey in general. Also, 30 minutes is just too long a delay for compensation to become paid. Reducing the limit to 15 minutes means a better potential for suffering financial loss, so would encourage shareholders to push for much better punctuality. There also needs to be a weighting system for late-running trains, so those that inconvenience large numbers of passengers have a greater corresponding influence on the general figures than less busy services.

    I've had enough and will be leaving my job in London soon for starters better home. Personally i think guilty for quitting after only annually, but while we are served so poorly by our railways no salary can justify the strain, exhaustion and misery that is included with a commute to London.

    Response from Southern Railway

    We asked Southern Railway to respond to the allegations produced by Matt Steel. In the statement, it said: “We are sorry your reader features a bad time … We all know it’s been difficulty for passengers using the constraints at London Bridge while it’s being rebuilt, and more recently with all the consequences of our ongoing industrial relations issues.

    “Our performance figures … overall may not reflect a person’s individual experience, and that we continue to work tirelessly to make improvements over the network - we don’t begin to see the industry PPM measure being a target being achieved, but we try to acquire every train for the destination at its published arrival time.

    “It’s best to visit your reader has noticed that there's more info available on claiming compensation for delays, and more and more claims reflect this. However, we all know a minimum qualifying duration of Quarter-hour for compensation continues to be required, and this is something which the Department for Transport is considering.”

    Southern added that while some trains do skip stops to make up time, it's rare and that “if this is done, you'll find nothing to gain performance measure-wise being a train that skips stops is asserted like a PPM failure - even if it can reach its destination on time”.

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