ScotRail revealed today that it expects to pay out at least £500,000 in ticket refunds due to severe disruption or cancellations caused by the extreme weather between late November and mid-December.
The refunds cover the four weeks ending 11 December – and surpass requirements under ScotRail’s Passengers’ Charter.
Delays caused by matters outwith the train operator’s control – such as extreme weather affecting all transport – are excluded from punctuality and reliability statistics when calculating refunds.
However, Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: “We fully appreciate the inconvenience caused by the worst weather conditions in Scotland for decades.
“Difficult decisions had to be taken following the impact on infrastructure and weather-related damage to our trains. This included the introduction of temporary timetables or suspending services on a number of routes.
“Given the circumstances, we have introduced refund arrangements as a gesture of goodwill on a route by route basis depending on the level of service we were able to provide.”
In some cases, there will be refunds of up to 10 days in connection with season tickets.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “I welcome ScotRail’s decision to offer this refund to passengers who suffered significant disruption in the recent severe weather.
“Staff have been working around the clock to keep our rail networks open and I want to thank them for all their efforts. We encourage people to use public transport where possible and recognise the problems people faced in trying to use the rail services last month. This offer will at least minimise the impact on passengers’ pockets.”
Independent watchdog Passenger Focus also welcomed the announcement. Robert Samson, its Scottish Passenger Manager, said: “We welcome this gesture of goodwill by ScotRail that recognises the disruption faced over the past few weeks, and it should also be welcomed by passengers.”
In general terms, refunds will be given for unused portions of single, return and weekly season tickets - while monthly or annual season tickets' customers will have the option of a refund or extension to their tickets when renewing.
For monthly and longer validity season tickets valid between 27 November and 11 December, 2010:
Express routes – Glasgow-Aberdeen, Edinburgh-Aberdeen, Glasgow/Edinburgh-Inverness and Edinburgh-Falkirk-Glasgow – nine days’ extension to tickets.
East routes – Edinburgh-Fife Circle, Edinburgh-Bathgate, Edinburgh-Dunblane, Edinburgh-North Berwick and Edinburgh-Newcraighall – nine days’ extension to tickets.
Central routes – Glasgow-Falkirk Grahamston-Edinburgh, Glasgow-Shotts-Edinburgh – and Highland routes – Aberdeen-Inverness, Inverness-Wick/Thurso, Inverness/Kyle of Lochalsh and West Highland Lines – seven days’ extension.
In addition, season tickets extensions will apply on a number of routes in Strathclyde. These include:
Glasgow-Cumbernauld; Glasgow Whifflet, Glasgow-Maryhill-Anniesland, and Motherwell-Cumbernauld – 10 days’ extensions, and: Glasgow-Helensburgh/Balloch/Milngavie/Airdrie (North Electrics) – 7 days’ extension.
Details of refunds for the period from 12 December to 8 January will be announced in due course.
Notes to editors
Full details of the refunds available and how to apply are on our website at www.scotrail.co.uk/aboutus/ourperformance.html
Refunds will be given for unused portions of tickets where lines of route have been severely disrupted or where trains have been cancelled. This applies to singles, returns and weekly season tickets. Passengers have 28 days from when their tickets expire to apply for refunds
For monthly/annual season tickets, customers will be offered a refund or extension to their tickets when renewing. This will be offered on a route by route basis depending on the level of service we were able to provide.
Refunds are available at staffed ticket offices or by applying to Customer Relations, ScotRail, PO Box 7030, Fort William PH 33 6WX. If season tickets were purchased online, customers can call our season ticket web support team on 0870 156 66 88 or email your name, current season ticket reference number and photocard id number to firstname.lastname@example.org