St Albans passengers make discrimination claims over Thameslink carnet compensation controversy

Harpenden Train Station. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harpenden Train Station. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Thameslink passengers are complaining the lack of extra compensation for carnet ticket holders is sex discrimination.

Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs both Thameslink and Great Northern services, is helping fund a compensation scheme for season ticket holders caught up in this summer’s timetabling disruption.

But the scheme does not include day ticket holders, including people who buy multi-packs of single tickets called carnet, which has led to complaints of sex discrimination.

St Albans commuter and lawyer Isabel Martorell said: “It’s indirect sex discrimination because it’s having a disproportionate effect on part-time workers as people who use carnet tickets do not travel to London five days a week, who are predominately women.

“Under the Equality Act, this comes under the definition of sex discrimination.”

On the lack of extra compensation for day ticket holders, who have instead been asked to claim under the existing Delay Repay scheme, Isobel said: “It made me really angry as it added insult to injury.

“Working mothers suffer the most from train chaos because we struggle to juggle childcare and making nursery pick-ups and now we are being told we cannot get enhanced compensation.”

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She has complained to Govia and also accosted a member of their staff at a Meet the Manager event at London Blackfriars station, who when told about the discrimination, admitted nobody had made that point when the scheme was being discussed.

A GTR spokesperson said: “The additional industry compensation scheme, which GTR is administering on behalf of the industry, has been offered to customers in agreement with the Department for Transport and in recognition of the recent disruption, for which we apologise.

“Season ticket holders, who bought a ticket for a specific length of time, are included in the new compensation scheme because they have experienced lengthy periods of disruption.

“Carnet tickets, where sold, are available to everyone, irrespective of gender therefore the decision not to include these in the compensation scheme is unlikely to amount to discrimination.”