Tracsis Travel Compensation Services (TTCS), a provider of specialist automated delay repay technology to train operators, has responded to calls from consumer group Which?, to simplify compensation claim processes.
Which? is calling for industry systems to be simplified after it found companies were asking for multiple pieces of information in addition to copies of travel tickets.
Sarah Dalby, managing director, TTCS said: “As Jacqueline Starr, chief operating officer from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), rightly says, passengers should receive what they are entitled to as quickly as possible while also guarding against fraudulent claims. And that is exactly why many train operating Companies (TOCs) request a lot of information up front, because in order to automate, and therefore speed up claim responses, the more information passengers provide up front, the better service they receive.
“Our own customers, many of which are high volume train operators, see an average claim turnaround time which exceeds the national average, and far outstrips the ORR’s target of seven to ten days for 90% of claims. In most cases, their average pay-out of eligible claims is within two working days. And in instances where all third-party system’s travel and sales data is up to date, the pay-out can be acknowledged and paid within two minutes of a claim submission.”
TTCS is working with its partners and industry bodies, including RDG, to try and reduce the amount of information required from customers to ensure speedy pay-outs for legitimate claims. The more information that is made available from national rail industry data sources, the less information passengers will need to provide in the first place. And this will also help to reduce the risk of fraud.
Sarah says: “Fraudulent claims are a real challenge for train operators. According to an article on computerworlduk.com, the rail industry has ‘pegged’ fraudulent Delay Repay claims as being ‘responsible for between 10-30 percent of claims. At TTCS, our systems have an in-built solution to address fraudulent claims on behalf of the TOCs.
“We can also speed up the claims process further, through our own ‘one-click’ claim solution, an idea first introduced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling late last year and required by the end of current franchises, some of which are completed in 2025. Once passengers have registered, they don’t need to enter their details each time they make a claim, making the process easier and faster.”
The Department for Transport claimed that 28% of passengers don't even think about claiming and research from independent transport watchdog Transport Focus found that just 35% of passengers who are eligible for compensation submit a claim. In TTCS’s experience, there are two main factors which mean that claims for Delay Repay compensation are still relatively low.
Sarah says: “Firstly, awareness of Delay Repay is still building, and we’re working with TOCs and the industry to help increase that awareness – people won’t claim if they don’t know that they can. Furthermore, the level of actual compensation can be relatively low, and in our experience, that is more likely to put people off than the information required to claim. Once people are in the system ready to submit a claim, they generally complete the process, because the intent is already there.”
Sarah concludes: “TTCS continually works to bring innovation to the Delay Repay arena with a number of new features planned in 2019. Other innovations such as ‘nominated train’ notifications for paper-based season tickets, pre-approved Delay Repay claims by station/on-board staff, and data from smartcards/e-tickets when they pass through station gates aim to further reduce the need for customers to enter information.”