MP hits out as commuters in Brighton get more compensation than Hove

Peter Kyle, Hove MP
Peter Kyle, Hove MP

Hove MP Peter Kyle asked the rail minister why his constituents were getting less compensation for train delays than those in Brighton.

As a result of disruption on Thameslink services since the launch of the new timetable in May, rail operator Govia Thameslink (GTR) agreed to give passengers compensation.

But Brighton and Preston Park passengers are listed as ‘Level 1’ and get a higher form of compensation than ‘Level 2’ passengers which include Hove and Portslade.

Level 1 passengers receive up to one month’s compensation, whereas Level 2 passengers are eligible for just one week’s compensation.

During a debate in Parliament on Tuesday (July 24), Peter Kyle called on rail minister Jo Johnson to ensure Hove passengers get fair compensation for the severe disruption they have suffered since the May timetable changes.

He said: “Under the scheme announced by the Government, passengers travelling from Brighton receive level 1 compensation, but those leaving from Hove receive level 2 compensation.

“They are one stop apart, they pay exactly the same for their tickets and their season tickets, and they leave from the same city, so does the minister not think passengers leaving from Hove station are entitled to the higher level of compensation, which would fit what they pay for the service?”

Mr Johnson said: “The hon. Gentleman has been a strong voice for his constituents in recent weeks – I have had almost as many conversations and meetings with him as I have had with the hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion [Green MP Caroline Lucas].

“It is obviously important that the Government focus on compensating first those passengers who have suffered the most disruption. That is the approach we took to the disruption of Southern services a year and a half ago, and we are taking a similar approach now.

“That means we have created two categories of passenger. Category 1 passengers are those with a very heavy dependence on Thameslink or Great Northern services from their station.

“Passengers with a lesser dependence ​on those operators receive a lower level of compensation, reflecting the fact that they have an alternative means of getting to or from work, primarily. That explains the different approaches to passengers travelling from Preston Park and those travelling from the station the hon. Gentleman mentioned in his constituency.

“The compensation scheme covers the period from 20 May 2018 to 28 July 2018, and it will go live in two waves. GTR will contact registered qualifying passengers proactively by the end of August before a web portal is opened for other passengers at a later date. As I said, that is identical to the system used for the Southern industrial action disruption about 18 months ago. Annual, monthly and weekly season ticket holders will all be eligible for up to one month, or four weeks, of the cost of their ticket. That is in addition to the standard Delay Repay compensation GTR passengers are entitled to after any 15-minute delay. That package was designed to compensate the worst affected passengers, who travel every day on season tickets bought in advance. Those who travel less frequently can claim Delay Repay compensation for the disruption they have experienced.”

For more information on the compensation, visit: www.thameslinkrailway.com/industrycomp