On Wednesday 13th April Joan Ryan MP is bringing a Bill before Parliament to ensure net profits made by train operating companies (TOCs) from unplanned delays and cancellations on their routes, caused by Network Rail, are put towards improving rail passenger services across the country.
Since 2010/11 TOCs have received £575 million from Network Rail when trains are delayed or cancelled, for instance when points don’t work or the power fails. Over the same period, train operators only paid out £73 million to commuters whose journeys were disrupted. That is a compensation gap of more than half a billion pounds – a substantial boost to train operating companies profit margins.
Given it is taxpayers’ who help to subsidise Network Rail, Joan Ryan will argue that “it is scandalous that a system can be designed in such a way that the very people using the rail network and who are most affected by the poor standard of service on offer – tax paying commuters – can end up contributing to train operators’ profits out of their own misery.”
Joan Ryan’s Improvement of Rail Passenger Services (Use of Disruption Payments) Bill seeks to ensure that any net profit TOCs make from these payments is only allocated to specified projects – such as helping to fund the retention of ticket office staff – which will increase the quality, value for money and reliability of passengers’ experience of railway travel. The Bill would give power to the rail regulator to monitor and enforce this proposal. Ms Ryan is also calling on the Government to bring rail travel within the EU Consumer Rights Act.
This Bill is supported by MPs from across the House of Commons and will be presented by Joan Ryan following Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Joan Ryan MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Enfield North, said:
“Commuters throughout the country are getting a raw deal.
Train operators are making millions from rail delays, at the expense of passengers who continue to suffer from a poor standard of service.
My Bill helps to shed light on a complex, opaque and unfair part of the industry, which the majority of the public know little about, and will help to improve the customer experience and give them a high value service.”