Watchdog Calls for Improved Delay Repay

With the summer holidays starting in the last couple of weeks, passengers are already being warned about potential disruption due to engineering work and line upgrades. These works will undoubtedly place additional pressure on the already stretched network; amplifying the impact of delays and disruption. With Customer Service and experience being a key competitive advantage for Train Operating Companies (TOCs), these delays can hugely impact reputation and profitability.

Since 2016 TOCs have been required by Delay Repay 15 DfT regulation to provide delayed passengers with the ability to claim a refund on journeys delayed by 15 minutes or more. The regulation provides a seemingly simple way to claim back for the inconvenience of delays, however, The Telegraph has recently reported that only 35% of the 8 million passengers delayed last year actually claimed. There are various reasons thought to be the cause including people thinking that the process is too complicated or not even knowing that they are eligible to claim.

In responses to increasing concerns over this statistic, a Watchdog campaign has been launched by Transport Focus Chief Executive Mr Anthony Smith. Mr Smith is an advocate for Delay Repay and explained the following to the Telegraph in a recent article “Train Operators must do more to make it easy to claim and to automate this process (delay compensation claims) whenever possible.” Whilst the TOCs have complied with the Delay Repay regulation, in Mr Smith’s opinion more can be done to improve communication about eligibility and how to apply, as well as utilising technology to improve the speed at which a claim is processed.

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) offers TOCs the opportunity to speed up and even automate the processing of Delay Repay claims, extending current capabilities, improving efficiencies, freeing up staff to complete more business-critical tasks such as customer calls and improving the customer experience as a result. For example, Celaton’s inSTREAM™ platform utilises IPA technologies to deliver both Manual Delay Repay (MDR), Automatic Delay Repay (ADR) and One-Click solutions for TOCs including the processing of Smart Cards, TfL and Oyster Card user claims.

By deploying solutions such as inSTREAM for Delay Repay processing, TOCs not only enable more passengers to be accurately compensated, but they can also better cope with periods of unexpected surges (often out of the TOCs control), meaning that they can scale on-demand without the need for temporary staff or unnecessary processing backlogs.

Invoice Automation

As the number of passengers steadily increases over the coming months and the unpredictability of the rail network likely to cause delays, IPA technology could offer TOCs an opportunity to meet the Watchdog challenge head-on and provide a long-term solution, improving service and reputation in the process.

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