30th Nov 2018
An independent rail complaints service has been launched, following a year of widespread disruption on the UK’s railways.
The Dispute Resolution Ombudsman has been set up so that passengers who are unhappy with the final outcome of their complaints have a body to appeal to.
Figures show that just 28% of customers who made a complaint to a rail company in 2017/18 were satisfied with the response.
The Office of Rail and Road explained that rail companies will continue to deal with the vast majority of customer complaints. However, if passengers are unhappy with the final response, or their complaint has not been resolved within 40 working days, they can appeal to the ombudsman.
It’s estimated that around 6,000 complaints per year will be referred to the new service, which will have the power to deliver binding decisions, while rail firms will also have to take requisite action if failings are identified.
Rail Minister Andrew Jones said the launch of the service would “make sure passengers are heard and that they get a fair deal when train companies fall short”, while Jacqueline Starr, a Managing Director at the Rail Delivery Group, said it would give customers “even greater confidence that we're doing as much as we can to get to a fair outcome”.
Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of the independent passenger watchdog Transport Focus said that the ombudsman would “drive improvements to the way most train operators handle passenger complaints”.