The consumer had intended to travel using a multi-modal ticket which allows passengers to use any bus or train within a certain locality. The train he was originally planning to travel on was cancelled, and the consumer contacted us because he had experienced a delay.
The consumer wanted to claim Delay Repay.
The Rail Service Provider stated that Delay Repay does not at present automatically apply to this type of ticket as they are not sold by the rail operator, however consumers are told that rail service providers may consider claims on their merits as part of their Passenger Charter commitments.
The Rail Service Provider had previously apologised to the consumer but had declined the Delay Repay claim and/or to make any further offers as part of the Rail Ombudsman’s mediation.
The claim moved to adjudication where the Ombudsman requested more details from the consumer regarding their onward travel. The consumer confirmed that he had made his own arrangements for onward travel and suffered no financial loss. He was also unable to confirm the details of the delay suffered.
The Ombudsman noted that the ticket was multi-modal which covered other transport options. The Passenger Charter was clear in its exclusion of multi-modal tickets and provided an explanation in respect of this. However, hypothetically speaking, the service provider may use the same criteria as Delay Repay to assess the compensation for the rail element even though the product held has no right to compensation under that particular scheme. It was also considered that the nature of the ticket allowed for set-off by other alternative transport means.
However, the Ombudsman also considered whether it was appropriate in these circumstances to make an award equivalent to delay repay which replicated the Rail Service Provider’s discretion, asking: was the Rail Service Provider incorrect in not exercising its discretion on the facts of the claim? The Ombudsman can take account of many factors, both legal and non-legal when coming to a decision on the facts of each case.
In this instance, the consumer had taken steps to reduce his losses and had not incurred additional expense in doing so. Since we were unable to ascertain whether the Delay Repay threshold had been met in terms of any additional time incurred, we were unable to make an award to recognise any time and trouble. We therefore concluded that the Rail Service Provider had not acted incorrectly.
Note to Consumers: when contacting the Ombudsman, please provide as much information as you have available. In the above instance, had the consumer suffered a financial loss as a result of the cancellation and/or provided some more detail as to the totality of the delay, an award could have been considered, notwithstanding the nature of the ticket.