Long-suffering rail passengers will soon have a new body to take their complaints to if they’re not happy with the outcome their train company gives them.
The new independent rail ombudsman will be launched in November and will have the power to hold train operators to account, the rail industry body announced today.
The Dispute Resolution Ombudsman has been appointed by the the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
It’s part of the rail industry’s £85bn plan to boost customer satisfaction, improve economic benefit, and create more and better jobs within the sector.
The free-to-use service will be responsible for investigating customer complaints when train companies have failed to take action.
If the ombudsman identifies valid complaints and claims that the train company has disregarded, then the ombudsman will be able to overrule the train company’s decision.
Decisions by the ombudsman will be binding and if failings are identified, train companies will have to take action.
The ombudsman has to provide real redress
More than 100,000 people have supported our rail campaign calling for improvements to rail services – including requiring train companies to participate in an ombudsman scheme.
Alex Hayman, Which? managing director of public markets, said: ‘For the many passengers who are tired of being badly let down by train services and having their complaints ignored, the introduction of a rail ombudsman can’t come soon enough.
‘While the introduction of an ombudsman service is welcome it’s vital that it’s introduced without further delay and that it provides real redress for passengers, so the rail system can start working for passengers, not just train companies.’
It’s vital passengers are treated with respect
Jo Johnson, Rail Minister, said: ‘When train companies fall short, it is vital that passengers get the redress they deserve and are treated with respect.
‘This is an important step by the industry – an independent and effective ombudsman, working closely with consumer groups, will ensure that passengers get a fair deal and give them a stronger voice. And it will also help the rail companies to improve their service to passengers.’
Kevin Grix, chief executive and chief ombudsman at the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, said: ‘With our legal foundation and decades of experience providing alternative dispute resolution to some of the UK’s most recognised retailers we are well placed to support future improvement in the rail sector.’
Vent your train pain
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