Mind the gap (between arrival times) and cash in

HAS your journey to work been thwarted by delays in the past six months? Well, Tube passengers have failed to claim rebates worth a total of almost £20m, according to a website that is amassing a cult following among disgruntled commuters.

Since the start of July, there have been 1,514 severe delays on the Underground and rebates worth £19.88m have gone unclaimed, according to Mytubewaslate.com. The largest monthly sum that commuters failed to claim was £4.55m in October.

Passengers delayed by 15 minutes or more for reasons within the control of Transport for London (TfL) are entitled to a full refund. These come in the form of vouchers in the post, which can be used to top up your Oyster prepay or put towards the cost of your monthly travel card.

Delays due to security alerts, third party action and bad weather don’t qualify, but signal failure or late completion of engineering works do. The delay is across your whole journey, so if you’re delayed for a total of a quarter of an hour across different tube lines you’re still entitled to claim – as long as you do so within two weeks.

You can also get a refund on DLR services delayed by 15 minutes or more and London Overground services running at least 30 minutes late.

You can claim through the TfL website (tfl.gov.uk). Mytubewaslate.com, which is free to use, aims to simplify the claims process. By inputting your regular journeys, it alerts you when there were severe delays to your line and sends you the refund form. For other rail operators in the UK as well as the London Underground, a similar free service is offered by Traindelays.co.uk.

The potential savings are substantial: commuters in zones 1-4 with one delayed Tube journey a week could make £145 over the course of a year.

Connor Kinnear, who founded Mytubewaslate.com early last year, says many people are unaware of the ability to claim.

“Regular passengers of the district and jubilee lines, which were the worst performing in December, will have had first-hand experience of TfL’s sporadic service,” he says.

“If that wasn’t hard enough to swallow, Tube fares have just gone up by 6 per cent. We hope to encourage commuters to habitually claim refunds, because too many people don’t realise they’re entitled to their money back for poor service.”