DSB commuters receive increased compensation amid rail upgrades
Danish State Railways (DSB) commuters have seen a surge in compensation, with DSB paying out a staggering 40 million kroner (about 3.5 million euros) in 2023, marking a substantial 64 per cent increase compared to the previous year, the company announced on 18 January 2024.
The compensation is part of the Travel Time Guarantee scheme, aimed at alleviating the impact of Banedanmark’s extensive track upgrades across the country. These upgrades, encompassing enhancements to tracks, signals, and power supply installations, have transformed the railway into a massive construction site.
Tony Bispeskov, DSB’s information chief, emphasised the company’s commitment to taking responsibility for delays. He stated, “In these years, where the railway has turned into one large construction site, it is expected and entirely reasonable that we pay out more in compensation.”
The comprehensive track work contributed to a challenge in maintaining customer punctuality. In 2023, 71.7 per cent of customers in InterCity, InterCityLyn, and regional trains arrived within the 2-minute and 59 seconds target for punctuality. Delays, including cancelled departures, were factored in, with consideration given to the number of affected customers.
Notably, the S-train network boasted an impressive 95.9 per cent punctuality rate, attributing its success to the completion of the signalling system upgrade. However, commuters on the S-trains received minimal compensation, with DSB paying out less than 15,000 kroner (about 1,311 euros) in 2023. Bispeskov highlighted the contrast, stating, “On the S-train, where the upgrade of the signalling system has long been completed, we paid out less than 15,000 kr. in compensation to commuters over an entire year.”
Looking ahead to 2024, DSB anticipates offering enhanced compensation options for customers. The latest contract between the state and DSB includes tightened requirements for payouts, surpassing EU standards. Customers facing a 30-minute delay will now have the choice between a new ticket for a corresponding journey or a 50 per cent refund of the ticket price. This marks a significant increase from the 25 per cent refund available until 2023.
Moreover, customers enrolled in DSB’s Commuter Travel Time Guarantee will receive compensation if the average punctuality on their route falls below 90 per cent. In 2023, the target punctuality rate stood at 87.4 per cent. The move aligns with DSB’s commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction and addressing the challenges posed by ongoing rail upgrades.