Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Commuters Need to Get on Right Track for Complaints

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Commuters Need to Get on Right Track for Complaints

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES WALKER YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS CHAMPION

IF you're having a relaxing day leafing through the paper and toying with what to do with the weekend look away now, because I'm covering the great British commute today - and your rights when things go wrong!

Let's be honest, though the hot weather has been wonderful, the sweaty, overcrowded, late or cancelled trains have pushed many of you to the limits lately. Fabulously, the Government has just announced that there will be a new, free ombudsman service for trains coming later this year. I'm working with Transport Focus on ways we can give all you frustrated commuters and travellers more rights.

But what can you do if you need to make a complaint now? Here's a quick guide.

| Delayed trains: Of the 5,000 complaints Resolver received about trains last year, the vast majority were about train delays. The good news is there's a scheme called 'delay/repay' that covers when you're entitled to a refund from a train operator. Some operators like Virgin will automatically refund you for delays, while others make it a bit more complicated. The partial refunds start if your train is delayed more than 30 minutes, though London Underground and some operators are refunding after 15 minutes.

| Buses and coaches: The moment we hit the UK's roads, all bets are off when it comes to timetables! But that doesn't mean you don't have rights. Over 5,500 people made a complaint about buses and coaches last year. If you feel you've been misled by a timetable (there's no way it gave a realistic arrival time, for example) you can complain. But you can also tackle anything from rude drivers to overcrowded vehicles, not to mention diversions, wheelchair access and ticket hikes. Keep evidence like bus tickets or your contactless payment reference and if you're able to safely snap a photo to support your case it all helps. …

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