Essex and East London train operator c2c has won the rail industry’s top award for innovation after launching the UK’s first automatic compensation scheme for all passengers. c2c’s Automatic Delay Repay scheme compensates travelers automatically when their train is delayed for as little as two minutes, without the passenger needing to do anything to make their claim. The initiative triumphed in the “Innovation of the Year” category at the National Rail Awards, the railway industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. c2c, which is operated by Italian rail group Trenitalia, offers the automatic compensation scheme to all passengers who travel using a c2c Smartcard.

The smartcard, which is available for free, enables c2c to track each customer’s journey as they tap through the gates at the start and end of their journey – and then calculates if the train they took was delayed at all. Half of all annual season tickets are now sold on Smartcards, meaning more customers are benefitting from automatic compensation every year. The judging panel for the National Rail Awards said in their citation: “We saw this as easily the most innovative entry. Passengers’ frustration with delays is almost matched by that induced by the procedures for seeking compensation. c2c was the first train operator to automatically make compensation payments. Furthermore they offer compensation for all delays of two minutes or more rather than the standard 30 minutes.” c2c Managing Director Julian Drury said: “Our philosophy is that we will always do our utmost to get our customers to their destination on time, but if their train is even just a couple of minutes late we will start paying them compensation for the inconvenience. We were really proud to be the first UK train operator to offer an automatic compensation scheme that every passenger can benefit from, and are honoured that our work has won the most prestigious innovation award in the rail industry.”

Ernesto Sicilia, Managing Director of Trenitalia UK said: “From the very start of our involvement with c2c we have been strongly focused on innovation, and improving all elements of our customers’ daily commute is at the heart of our efforts. This fantastic award, obtained by all c2c team, is further confirmation of the outstanding customer benefits that we can help deliver. Innovation will always be a key driver in our plans to increase our presence in the UK market.” ENDS