28 Jul 2009

KiwiRail may offer compo to delayed commuters

2:52 pm on 28 July 2009

KiwiRail says it will consider paying compensation to Wellington commuters whose travel plans were disrupted on Monday by a signalling failure and a train breakdown.

But some passengers say they are heartily sick of delays and just want the trains to run on time.

Monday's disruptions for Wellington's commuter train service occurred less than three weeks after a mistake by a contractor shut down the region's rail network.

KiwiRail says it has already offered a 20% discount on monthly passes in July for commuters affected by trains whose heaters have failed to work properly.

Spokesperson Kevin Ramshaw says a similar gesture to passengers affected by delays is one option under consideration.

However, one passenger says delays have become so commonplace that it would be difficult to say what level of compensation was appropriate.

There had been some reports of delayed passengers refusing to pay fares, but the Rail and Maritime Transport Union says its members have not reported any instances of abusive behaviour by disgruntled passengers.

Monday's signalling failure delayed many rush-hour services and caused the cancellation of others.

The signalling problems started after a power failure about 2pm.

Despite normal services resuming by evening, passengers on the Capital Connection between Wellington and Palmerston North faced huge delays after a train broke down in front of them, five minutes out of Wellington.

The Palmerston North train hauled the other train back to Wellington.