Travel delays: we’ve all experienced them, and it always disrupts both the business and the individual, be it missing meetings or being late for a dinner date.
The UK government has announced plans to enable rail passengers to claim compensation if their train is delayed by 15 minutes or more.
But, the question is, if employees claim compensation for the delay, should they pocket the refund, even though the company is charged for the original ticket?
Closing the leakage loop
For businesses, the cumulative impact on productivity, missed deadlines and delayed meetings is the intangible damage. The difficulty businesses face is how they go about ensuring they recoup some monetary compensation for these delays, when the employee will most likely get the refund back into their personal bank account.
The point here is not whether reclaiming a £12 Travelcard, or even a £5,000 season ticket, will ever compensate your business for lost productivity. It won’t. But, take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves. A good start is to ensure that there is a policy on delayed travel compensation that all employees are aware of.Ensuring refunds are processed
Once the policy is in place and explained to employees, the next challenge is to ensure that claims are made and the policy is enforced. To make it as easy as possible, business owners should offer step by step instructions and encourage employees to claim within 48 hours of the delay. It might also be beneficial to offer an incentive to completing and submitting the necessary paperwork, such as sharing the refund with the employee.
Raising awareness about delayed compensation
Despite government and transport organisations, such as the Office of Rail and Road, continuing to invest in raising awareness about the process of reclaiming funds for delayed travel, two thirds of eligible compensation claims are still not being made.
A Transport Focus survey found 57 per cent of passengers either don’t know they could claim, or haven’t thought about doing so (34 per cent).
In the past, the process was manual and arduous, however, digital technology has helped create a simpler process. Smartphone cameras and digital forms make it easy to submit claims online, and payments are now issued directly to the account where the tickets were purchased from.
Businesses must utilise this new technology, because even if it can’t pay back the full value of delays on public transport, it can compensate the business and the employee for the intangible impact. This will influence the perception and use of railways and other forms of transport.
Steve Cassidy is managing director at Viaqqio.