Automatic compensation for Southern train delays

The Key smartcard
The Key smartcard

Automatic compensation for delays experienced by Southern and Gatwick Express train passengers is being introduced.

Last year train operator Govia Thameslink Railway rolled out the system for Thameslink and Great Northern trains, where those using the key smartcard are partially refunded when they experience delays of 15 minutes or more.

This has now been extended to people travelling by Southern and Gatwick Express services.

The automated compensation system uses complex algorithms after the passenger has tapped in and tapped out and will be able to tell if the journey made was delayed by 15 minutes or more.

If that is the case, it will send an automatic claim to the passenger’s online account. All the passenger has to do is to review the claim for accuracy and confirm the method of payment preferred.

Smartcards are free and can be ordered online on Southern’s website.

Angiel Doll, Southern and Gatwick Express passenger services director, said: “Passengers have seen a significant improvement in Southern service levels but we still have more to do and when things go wrong on this, the most congested network in the UK, passengers deserve compensation.

“Now, with automatic Delay Repay it couldn’t be quicker or simpler to get money back if you are delayed. All we ask you to do is use a key smartcard, available from our website.”

To determine whether a claim can be made, the system uses data that comes from entry and exit taps at the station validators.

It compares how long it has taken the passenger to complete the journey against how long the journey should have taken.

Where there is a discrepancy, it looks to see whether there were any corresponding train delays or cancellations and if it finds a relevant delay of 15 minutes or more, a claim will be automatically created.

This method is complementary to the conventional Delay Repay claim process and does not replace it; claims for delays of 15 minutes or more can still be made as usual either online or by using a paper form available from stations.