Today has been another shocking day for rail – a damning report from the Public Accounts Committee about the DfT, Keith William’s statement that franchising has failed and – most significantly of all – a £100 million class action launched this morning against several major train operating companies.
The legal claims have been launched with the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the following rail operators:
1. South Western Trains (up until Aug 2017): Stagecoach Group.
South Western Trains (current): FirstGroup plc and MTR Corporation.
2. South Eastern: Govia – The Go Ahead Group and Keolis.
The “Boundary Fares” Case
The £100 million claim relates to train companies overcharging millions of passengers because of the issue of “boundary fares” where they purchased tickets for travel beyond the zones covered by their Travelcards. The claim argues that they should have been offered the chance to pay “boundary fares” for the “gap” between the outer limit of their zone coverage and their destination. However, passengers have ended up paying twice because these fares were not promoted, made available online, at ticket machines and rarely offered at ticket counters. You can read more in today’s Evening Standard.
We believe this case will send a shock wave throughout the entire rail industry, and may even open the floodgates for more of these claims – after all, it is not just South Western and South Eastern passengers that suffer from the “boundary fare” issue around London.
The rail industry and the government have been aware of this problem for a very long time – but have made no serious attempt to fix it. The exact issues constituting the legal claim today were discussed in the press by our spokesperson Martin Abrams as long ago as September 2015. Click here to read what he had to say at the time.
We must take action: Transparency Now!
Representatives from ABC have a meeting with Keith Williams on Monday 18th March and will report to him all the transparency, justice and consumer rights issues we’ve encountered – especially on Govia Thameslink Railway.
Please write to us at contact@abcommuters with the subject line “Transparency Now” if you would like to submit your opinions, experiences, facts or new evidence to our submission to Keith Williams.