Train fares for passengers from Brighton and Hove will rise by an average of 1.8 per cent from Monday 2 January, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) said this morning (Friday 2 December).
The company, which runs Southern, Thameslink and the Gatwick Express, said that Southern passengers would be able to submit “delay repay” compensation claims if their train was late by 15 minutes.
The new “Delay Repay 15” terms come into effect from Sunday 11 December.
And season ticket holders will receive compensation for Southern’s poor performance from the new year.
“Annual season ticket holders will receive a payment equivalent to one month’s travel, with quarterly, monthly and weekly season ticket holders being able to claim an equivalent payment for the ticket type.
“Customers claiming against quarterly, monthly or weekly tickets must have bought travel for at least 12 weeks between (Sunday) 24 April and (Saturday) 31 December.
“Where it has details, Southern will contact the majority of eligible customers directly and a website is also being set up to enable customers to apply online if they believe they are eligible and are not automatically contacted by Southern.
“Passengers on Southern and Gatwick Express will also be the first in the country to benefit from the introduction of the more generous ‘delay repay’ scheme which, effective from (Sunday) 11 December, will now offer passengers compensation for train delays over 15 minutes rather than the current 30 minutes.
“Under Delay Repay 15, passengers will be able to claim 25 per cent of the cost of the single fare for delays between 15 and 29 minutes.”
Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, Southern’s parent company, said: “Our passengers have had to endure many months of disruption and misery due to industrial action and poor performance and for that I am truly sorry.
“While they have clearly been able to claim under our ‘delay repay’ scheme, we welcome this additional compensation package.
“It is also good news that our passengers will be the first to benefit from Delay Repay 15 as it is something our passengers have been telling us they want for some time.
“Our aim is always to get passengers to where they want to go on time but if we don’t, it is right that they are compensated.”
Gatwick Express and Thameslink passengers who travel on the Southern network will also be eligible for compensation.
Thameslink and Great Northern fares will also rise by an average of 1.8 per cent although Southern advance fares will be frozen at current prices.
Thameslink and Great Northern passengers will also benefit from “delay repay” from Sunday 11 December.
For more information on the compensation package, click here.
In a letter to Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby, the Transport Secretary Chris Gayling said: “While nothing can truly make up for what you and your constituents have had to endure, I hope this goes some way to showing that the government is on their side.”
Mr Grayling said that passengers with a Brighton to London annual season ticket, for example, would get £371 back.
The money can be paid directly into passenger’s bank accounts.
Mr Kirby said: “I am absolutely on the side of hard-pressed commuters in Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven and continue to urge the unions and the company to do all they can to resolve this dispute.”
Hove MP Peter Kyle said: “Anything that returns money to the pockets of long suffering passengers is to be welcomed.
“But let’s not forget that this comes a few weeks before another round of fare increases after Christmas.
“I fear the government is robbing Peter to pay Paul with this £15 million windfall and what I’d really like to see is a fare freeze until this shambles is sorted.
“When the Rail Minister was appointed I told him that passengers expected government to be more active in solving the networks problems.
“I’ve not seen this yet. I want them to roll their sleeves up and sort out the industrial disputes that are hammering life in our city into the ground.
“Sitting silently in the shadows as they have been doing is no longer an option.
“A good first step will be publishing Chris Gibb’s independent review into Southern services which will be completed soon.”