Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, brought a bill before Parliament yesterday that called for automatic compensation for passengers who experience delays or cancellations to their journeys.
The Automatic Travel Compensation Bill received the support of over 50 MPs from all political parties, including fellow Sussex MPs Maria Caulfield, Tim Loughton, Caroline Lucas, Henry Smith and Peter Kyle, and passed its first reading in the House of Commons yesterday.
Speaking at the House of Commons immediately after the Bill was passed, Huw said:
“As a Member of the Transport Select Committee since 2015 and a veteran in the daily commute from East Sussex, I’ve consistently called for a radical change from the industry in their approach to compensating passengers.
Today, in Parliament, I took this one step further by proposing that legislation is introduced to provide automatic travel compensation.
This Bill would ensure that passengers on trains, flights and other domestic transport systems, have their bank accounts automatically credited with the compensation owed to them without first having to work out what their rights are or try and apply for it.
The rights for claiming refunds for delays and cancellations are complex and cumbersome. As we found with Ryanair, the rules are not always explained correctly, or explained at all, to passengers. This, at a time when the innovation in technology should be lessening the need for passenger administration and red-tape. Millions of passengers are not only being inconvenienced by delays but are not being compensated.
It is time for those responsible for the passenger to give something back without further work from the passenger. There are many matters where the political arithmetic will not work to provide for change. This is one change where the consumer will benefit from parties working together to cause industry to change its approach.”
The Bill is supported by the consumer organisation Which? and will have its second reading in the House on Friday 16 March 2018.