Last updated: 10:53 AM ET, Tue October 06 2015

Virgin Trains Offering Automatic Repayments for Delays

Car Rental & Rail | Donald Wood | October 06, 2015

Virgin Trains Offering Automatic Repayments for Delays

Photo via Twitter/VirginTrains

In a landmark move, the U.K.'s Virgin Trains has become the first passenger rail transportation company to automatically compensate qualifying passengers if their train is delayed.

As reported by Brian Milligan of, this new perk allows any passengers using the West Coast mainline who booked their tickets on the company website or through the app a chance to receive their money back immediately.To be eligible for the automatic compensation, Milligan said, passengers would have to purchase an advance ticket, face a delay of at least 30 minutes and not be told about the delay when buying the boarding pass.

Customers whose trains are delayed will receive the repayment on the card they used to originally purchase the tickets.

Virgin began offering the repayments Oct. 3, according to Milligan. 

Previously, compensation for the delays was paid to customers via vouchers, and the government in the U.K. is now getting behind Virgin by asking other train companies to start implementing similar processes moving forward.

British Department for Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin voiced his approval by telling, “Our plan is to make sure passengers across the country benefit from schemes like this, and we are encouraging other operators to roll out similar schemes nationwide.”

Milligan revealed that at least one other train operator is thinking about adding the service.

For those looking to see how much they could possibly be compensated, Virgin and other companies offer a 50 percent refund for delays between 30 minutes and an hour, a 100 percent refund on one- to two-hour delays and a 100-percent refund on the cost of a return ticket for delays of more than two hours.

With the new compensation system, Virgin claims that the company expects to pay about $4.2 million in automatic repayments in the first year alone.

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