Extra compensation offered to South Western Railway passengers after travel misery in December RMT strikes

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South Western Railway (SWR) is offering additional compensation to customers who were frequently subject to travel disruption during the December 2019 strikes.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) held a 27-day strike in December over the future role of train guards.

The disagreement was over whether the drivers instead of the guards would have control of opening and closing doors; the RMT argued that train guards are essential to ensure passengers can board trains safely whereas the rail firm wanted drivers to operate doors to save time.

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The winter strikes caused a month of travel mayhem. In response, earlier this year SWR announced a compensation lifeline for commuters that suffered the crowded trains and delays due to the industrial action.

Phase Two of that compensation scheme has now been implemented. The first phase saw SWR season ticket holders contacted by the rail firm directly to arrange refunds. From the week starting July 13, passengers have been invited to make the claims themselves.

What does Phase Two entail?

Customers who held weekly season tickets and daily tickets, plus those with longer-term season tickets who haven’t been contacted by SWR in Phase One, can now apply for compensation.

This can be done by visiting SWR’s dedicated compensation page here.

Am I eligible?

Season ticket holders can make a claim if they have a ticket covering a minimum of five working days of the strike period.

Non season ticket holders qualify to make the claim if they have tickets covering a minimum of three return journeys in a seven-day period of the strike.

Visit the SWR eligibility checker tool here for more details.

Those seeking compensation will have to act relatively quickly as the window for making a claim is until September 13, 2020.

A SWR statement says: “Phase One of the scheme has seen around £2.6m of compensation paid to over 34,500 customers so far who we hold accurate and up to date details for.

“Of those customers, more than 97% were able to process their claims automatically without requiring support.”

During the December 2019 strikes the service carried over 80% of its usual passengers.

The statement adds: “However, given the duration and intensity of the strike, compensation over and above the normal delay repay arrangements is being offered in recognition of the exceptional disruption customers faced.”

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