Peter Overton, Nine News Sydney: it would rank as the ultimate commuter frustration – missing a flight when its clearly not your fault!
But 9News has discovered that Sydney Trains has started paying out to some of those most affected.
Ross Greenwood: So far its only a trickle, but a window to payments has opened.
Howard Collins, Sydney Trains: When you have these tragic stories of people who have lost a lot of money, we have offered them some in return.
Greenwood: But the Sydney Trains boss is adamant these payments are goodwill and nothing more
Collins: There is no compensation policy
Greenwood: Curiously it was the Transport Minister who tipped off 9News about the payments in a recent interview.
Andrew Constance, Transport Minister: When there are odd occasions when people are incredibly disrupted on the train network, Howard Collins steps in.
He might assist if someone’s flight a flight
Greenwood: That prompted us to lodge a Freedom of Information Request – documents show Sydney Trains paid out $4,421 in the past financial year to 12 customers whose flights were disrupted.
But in the three months to October this year, another 12 were paid $3,812.
One outage that triggered payments was on August 23. A train breakdown caused peak-hour chaos.
Another was New Years Eve when travellers were stranded.
The Premier then said no to compensation…
Gladys Berejiklian, NSW Premier: No, that’s currently not in our plans
Greenwood: Sydney Trains has not promoted this compensation scheme but overseas there are similar arrangements. In London, for example, there is a rail ombudsman – they can pay out a maximum of $5000.
Howard Collins, the ex-London underground boss, knows the UK system. Some companies there will pay if youir train is more than 15 minutes late.
Collins: I think they’ve almost been forced too because of the poor performance of some of these organisations.
Greenwood: Here commuters have different feelings about whether compensation should be paid.
Vox: I think compensation becomes an open-ended problem
Vox: I’m a teacher and I always teach my kids to plan ahead so really you should be catching trains well in advance.
Vox: People can’t afford to pay for airfares and not use the plane they are on and then pay again, that’s not right
Greenwood: Ross Greenwood, Nine News