“Pay-outs just suit operator”

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Commuter column - My platform

Compensation for rail delays is now mandatory, but the amount refunded seems to vary depending on the train operator.

Southern pledges to refund a portion of the entire ticket price, when journeys are delayed by 30 minutes or more, but First Capital Connect are more canny: they merely refund a proportion of the part of the journey which is actually affected by their delay, never mind if that leads to missed connections and an eventually even later arrival.

By following the letter of the law here they are doing little to bolster customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty.

Reminding us that the new timetables come into force on Sunday (December 9), automated announcements at Mid Sussex stations politely advise that copies may be obtained from ‘manned’ stations – a term which is hardly politically correct. Even if ‘man’ here refers to ‘human’, it’s still probably best avoided in the age of feminism. ‘Staffed’ sales points, perhaps?

Ridding packed rush-hour trains of cumbersome bicycles, to make more room for passengers to squeeze in, was a worthy theory. Sadly the practice has been anything but, with patchy enforcement of the new rules.

Many gate staff seem to be turning a blind eye to cycles being wheeled past them onto crowded platforms, while on-board revenue inspectors clamber over two-wheel contraptions blocking their path through the train without even a comment, let alone the fine they could impose.

Contrast this with a weary season ticket holder who dares to sit even for a moment in First Class who can expect the stiffest of penalties. It’s a funny old world on the railways.