Virgin is the first train company in the UK to have an automatic process that compensates passengers if trains are delayed.
Travellers using the company’s West Coast mainline now receive automatic repayments if a train they plan on travelling on is delayed.
The Automatic Delay Repay (ADR) scheme will credit affected customers’ payment cards within three days – eliminating the need to apply for their money back.
However, customers will only be eligible for ADR if they either use Virgin’s West Coast Mainline, book through the company website, or purchase an advance ticket for a specific train.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin called the announcement “fantastic news”, adding: “Virgin Trains are making the most of modern technology to improve the service customers get.
“Our plan is to make sure passengers across the country benefit from schemes like this and we are encouraging other operators to roll out similar schemes nationwide.”
Mike Hewitson, head of policy at independent watchdog Transport Focus, commented: “This is a great step forward and we would like to see this system introduced across all operators and ticket types.”
Virgin now offers the following levels of compensation:
- Delays of 30-59 mins – up to a 50% refund of a single ticket or the relevant portion of a return ticket.
- Delays of 60-119 mins – up to a 100% refund of a single ticket or the relevant portion of a return ticket
- Delays of 120 mins or over – up to a 100% refund of a single or both portions of a return ticket.
If a customer gets a ‘refund,’ it means they get money their back.
Over the past year approximately 5% of trains run by the operator were either outright cancelled, at least 30 minutes late, or did not make a scheduled stop.
According to Network Rail figures, Virgin is the joint-second worst performing operator in England and Wales, behind Govia Thameslink Railway.