Compensation For Delayed Commuters?


The contentious  issue of compensation for stranded or delayed train commuters is about to get interesting.

KiwiRail is now talking about compensation for commuters affected by this week’s Wellington rail meltdowns.

That would be a precedent and even put Auckland’s rail operators in a difficult situation, should passengers in Auckland ever start arguing such a case. (Until now, any requests after breakdowns have been refused outright).

Today’s Dom Post quotes Kiwirail saying that it’s “actually a very difficult question to answer, because if you do compensate then you have to compensate fairly.”

Minister Steven Joyce’s answer was even more fascinating. While saying it was KiwiRail’s call he did indicate he thinks they should - “I’m sure that they know of the need to keep the faith with commuters during this difficult period.”

Last year KiwiRail offered an afternoon of free travel as an apology for train heater problems.  I’ve heard recent mutters from Auckland passengers wanting something for delayed or cancelled services.

If you look at the terms and conditions under which you use the services, there is no guarantee the timetable will be kept so legally you don’t have a case

. But it’s a matter of keeping the faith and when reliability falls over, public transport passengers start questioning why they bother.

Veolia are regularly apologising on board when you get held up outside the Brit tunnel waiting for a berth.

It’s not the company’s fault but when this happens every day, the apology loses its effect.

It’s not a good look when from this Sunday, fares go up.

What do you think?




  1. Matt L says:

    I agree it would set a precedent. Due to being affected by so many faults and delays I personally I have no problem with evading fares as a way of compensation. I know some people won’t like me for saying this and may find it dishonest but I feel it is not fair to pay for a service that so frequently doesn’t deliver. When Veolia/ARTA/Kiwirail start getting things working correctly on a regular basis then I will start paying for all fares.

    As for compensation mentioned above I think the best way is a day of free travel as it would be far to hard to try and work out the individuals affected. This would also have the advantage of promoting public transport to the population, which may get more people using the service.

  2. joust says:

    If you think the service is that bad then stop using it. Evading fares is no better than shoplifting. People paying fares and for monthly passes etc. are subsidising your travel.

  3. Matt L says:

    Catching the train is still the most convenient method for me despite all the delays which in total this is probably more than 1 hour a week. I can understand the odd delay from time to time however with Auckland it is almost daily.

    As I said before I’m happy to pay for a service however far to many times I have been at stations where trains are extremely late or don’t turn up at all with little or usually no warning. I have been hours late for work and some days and one time even 2 hours late for a job interview due to train issues (was unemployed at the time so was even more important and I even caught a train was meant to get me there an hour before just in case there were delays)

  4. cierat says:

    I think this is a bit of a red herring… kiwirail the network provider failed to provide an adequate network for tranz metro (kiwirail) to run train services on. the network provider also can’t seem to relay information to tranz metro so passengers can be kept informed… it seems veolia have the same exactly the same problems with their kiwirail network in auckland.

    clearly kiwirail the network should pay compensation for its network failures, rather than tranz metro or veolia, otherwise innocent ratepayers end up footing the bill for compensation.

    you have to admire the poor rail operators that continually have to front up for the network and apologise for the very infrastructure that lets them down again and again and again..

  5. Matt L says:

    Also just to show how bad it is here is the response to a parliamentary written question from David Shearer.
    Question: How does the number of points or signal failures on the Auckland rail system over the past year compare to previous years?

    Answer Text: KiwiRail has advised the following:

    Signal failures:
    Apr 07 – Jan 08 (10 months) 144
    Feb 08 – Jan 09 (12 months) 214
    Feb 09 – Jan 10 (12 months) 172

    Point failures:
    Apr 07 – Jan 08 (10 months) 288
    Feb 08 – Jan 09 (12 months) 267
    Feb 09 – Jan 10 (12 months) 234

    Thats 406 point or signal failures in Auckland in the last year alone!!!


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