Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Passengers Footing Bill for Their Complaints

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Passengers Footing Bill for Their Complaints

Article excerpt

RAIL passengers are footing the bill for their own compensation in the Northern timetable debacle because the scheme is being funded largely from the public purse.

Season ticket holders are now able to claim the special compensation, to be paid out in addition to Northern's existing Delay Repay scheme.

The package, developed with the Department for Transport (DFT) and Transport for the North (TFN), is being funded by Network Rail.

An off-shoot of the DFT, it is funded largely by the taxpayer with funds also provided by operators who use the network and income from property estate. When asked about why taxpayers were taking the bulk of the burden, both Network Rail and Northern Rail referred the M.E.N to the DFT.

What A DFT spokesman said: "The disruption Northern passengers have experienced is unacceptable and it is vital that services continue to improve and passengers are compensated fully."

you Write to: M.E.N, Mitchell House, Hollinwood Oldham, Or email: @men-news.

Asked why taxpayers are footing the majority of the bill, the DFT indicated that Network Rail were late in finalising the planned timetable changes and delivering key infrastructure upgrades.

The M.E.N. has asked the DFT what the budget is for the scheme, but this question has not been answered.

The disruption this year has been blamed on delays to the electrification of the Blackpool to Preston line which Northern say delayed driver training - and meant there weren't enough drivers available to operate services.

This was exacerbated by the timetable change on May 20. To qualify, season ticket holders need to have used specified routes where more than five per cent of trains have been cancelled or seriously delayed. An extension to the compensation scheme for non-season ticket holders was discussed yesterday at a TFN board meeting and train operators are said to be 'finalising a suitable claim process as quickly as possible. …

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