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Dartford MP slams “poor” Southeastern’s passenger repayment service

PUBLISHED: 09:35 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:47 04 March 2016

Southeastern commuters

Southeastern commuters

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The comments came in a debate on Wednesday

Rail service Southeastern has been criticised by Dartford’s MP Gareth Johnson, who said the company had “all but given up on getting its franchise renewed.”

At a House of Commons debate on Wednesday, Mr Johnson asked the rail minister, Claire Perry, to consider the way the company’s ‘delay repay’ scheme works.

It currently compensates passengers who have suffered a 30 minute delay.

But Mr Johnson believes the rail service should offer repayment after 15 minutes.

The Conservative MP said: “Southeastern’s performance this year has so far been particularly poor. Their trains are consistently late, are cancelled or miss stops.

“It is not good enough. There has to be a fairer compensation system for passengers when delays occur.

“A fifteen-minute delay is still significant and so compensation should begin at that point rather than the current thirty minutes.

“We should not allow for trains to be delayed for say 25 minutes without there being any consequence for Southeastern.”

In response the rail minister said: “It is a manifesto commitment of my government, reiterated by the chancellor, to introduce in a relatively short time —I certainly want to do it this year— a compensation commitment on which the clock starts ticking at 15 minutes.”

Southeastern said: “The specification and letting of rail contracts is a matter for government. We are focused on working with Network Rail – who are responsible for infrastructure such as the track and signalling - to deliver an improved service for passengers.

“Under our current contract with the Department for Transport, we will be investing more than £70m in better services, including refurbishing trains and stations, more employees at our stations and better quality information.

“We will now work closely with the Department for Transport and Transport for London as they develop these proposals further.

“The Delay Repay scheme offering compensation to passengers delayed by 30 mins or more is approved by the Department for Transport and hardwired into our franchise agreement. Any changes to this scheme are a matter for the Department for Transport rather than individual operators and we will wait for further information from them.

“We look at all compensation claims on a case by case basis and additional goodwill gestures are paid to passengers who are excessively delayed, held on trains for lengthy periods or who occur expenses that are within our responsibility.”

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