Harpenden man ‘worn down’ over rail compensation

First Capital Connect delays in repay scheme annoy commuter

FIRST Capital Connect has snubbed a Harpenden commuter’s bid to secure additional compensation after he was forced to spend three and a half hours travelling home from London Bridge after a train failure.

While the rail firm (FCC) is refusing to budge on its offer of just over six pounds to season ticket holder Gary Bray, it has apologised for the delay and the fact that he is unhappy with both its slow response and the amount of compensation.

It initially gave him �5.28, but recently topped this with a further one pound after Gary complained and FCC realised the initial amount had been incorrectly calculated.

However, after 10 weeks of fighting for appropriate compensation Gary has admitted defeat. In an email to FCC, he said: “Okay, I give up - you have worn me down. An extra �1 - pathetic.”

Gary’s travel woes date back to May 26, when he arrived at London Bridge for the 6.13pm train. However before reaching Blackfriars the train stopped. After the train had been stationary for the best part of an hour passengers were finally told the hold-up was due to a failed train further along the line.

Gary’s train crawled back in to Blackfriars, where the commuters had to alight, and there was little information. He walked to the City Thameslink station but there was no help there either.

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So he then walked across the bridge to Southwark tube to get the Jubilee line to West Hampstead, where he was told there would be a shuttle service with a train every 15 to 20 minutes. But he could not get on the first couple of trains as they were packed.

Gary said he eventually physically forced his way onto a train and arrived back at Harpenden at about 9.45pm, “having been on my feet for three-and-a-half-hours, and by this time very hungry and grumpy.”

He complained to FCC after initially receiving an “utterly derisory” �5.28. The rail firm recently sent him a further voucher for one pound, giving a total �6.28.

Gary said to the Herts Ad: “It is a complete shambles. If they had just said ‘sorry’ and here’s some money for a charity of your choice, it would have been OK.”

In an email to him, a customer relations officer for FCC said the firm offers compensation “much higher” than the minimum set out in the National Rail conditions of carriage.

Under FCC’s delay replay scheme customers are entitled to compensation if their journey is delayed by 30 minutes or longer. How much it pays depends on the length of delay and is based on a percentage of the cost of either a single or return ticket. In Gary’s case it was based on 50 per cent of the daily proportion of his season ticket.

A spokesman for FCC told the Herts Ad: “We do apologise for the delay caused to Mr Bray on 26 May but it appears that he has not been receiving our emails.”

He added: “Mr Bray has been compensated �6.28 for his entire return fare for the day in question in accordance with our delay repay policy in which any delay over one hour leads to a 100 per cent refund.”