UK Trains - 'Boundary Fares' collective actions
This relates to several standalone claims filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) on behalf of millions of rail passengers who have paid twice for part of their journeys on Southeastern, South Western and GTR routes. It concerns Gutmann v First MTR South Western Trains Limited and Another; Gutmann v London & South Eastern Railway Limited; Gutmann v Govia Thameslink Railway Limited & Others.
Hausfeld and Charles Lyndon act for Justin Gutmann, formerly a Head of Research and Insight at Citizens Advice, in these proceedings against the operators of the South Western, Southeastern and GTR rail franchises. The claims are estimated to be worth around £166 million in damages.
Boundary fares allow passengers who own a Travelcard to travel beyond the zones covered by their Travelcard without doubling up on payment. Mr Gutmann alleges that First MTR South Western Trains, Stagecoach South Western Trains (together, South Western), London & South Eastern Railway (Southeastern) and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) did not make boundary fares readily available for Travelcard holders to purchase or make passengers aware of their existence. These failures have left customers with little option but to buy a higher fare than required because their Travelcard already entitled them to travel for part of their journey. Mr Gutmann alleges that this imposition of unfair prices is an abuse of the rail companies’ dominant market position and in breach of UK competition laws.
The claim against South Western and Southeastern (the SW/SE Proceedings) was certified on 19 October 2021 when the CAT approved Mr Justin Gutmann as class representative in the first standalone opt-out collective claim ever filed in the CAT. This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 28 July 2022. Following the success in the SW/SE Proceedings at the collective proceedings certification stage, Mr Gutmann filed an additional claim relating to the Great Northern, Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink rail franchises (the GTR Proceedings) on 24 November 2021.
Passengers may be eligible for compensation if they (i) owned a Travelcard at any time from 1 October 2015 (for the SW/SE Proceedings) and from 24 November 2015 (for the GTR Proceedings) and (ii) purchased a rail fare from a station within the zones of their Travelcard to a destination outside of those zones. Hausfeld and Charles Lyndon are co-counsel on these claims which are funded by Woodsford Litigation Funding Limited, a founding member of the Association of Litigation Funders of England and Wales.
The Lawyer 2020 Awards shortlisted Hausfeld together with Charles Lyndon, for Competition & Regulatory Team of the Year in respect of Mr Gutmann’s claims.
The GTR Proceedings were stayed pending the Court of Appeal’s decision in the SW/SE Proceedings. Following the success in those proceedings before the Court of Appeal, the stay was lifted and the GTR Proceedings are starting to progress, with a certification hearing due to take place in March 2023.
Affected passengers who live in the UK will be automatically included in the SW/SE Proceedings and – if certified – the GTR Proceedings, although they can choose to opt-out in due course. Affected passengers who do not live in the UK will also be eligible to join the claim but must proactively opt-in.
Please access the dedicated website.
Law360 (subscription only)
Litigation Finance Journal