by Jessica Aszkenasy
Commuters will soon be able to automate compensation for transport delays using their mobile phones thanks to an app developed by a London-based start-up.
Website Reeclaim.co.uk, developed by programmer Zevi Sternlicht, allows passengers to link up their Transport for London accounts to the service, which determines whether a delay could be grounds for a refund.
A request is then submitted to TfL on behalf of the commuter, who will receive
compensation if the claim is approved, all free of charge.
Sternlicht came up with the idea for the service two years ago, after he successfully claimed a refund for a delayed trip home.
“I’d heard about the refund service and decided that I’d try it out, but had I realised how long it was going to take me I probably wouldn’t have done it,” he says.
“Reeclaim checks for delays automatically every day and if TfL approve the claim, for a contactless card the money goes straight back onto the credit card and for an Oyster card it turns into web credit which can be used to top it up.”
The service is currently available online and the app is set to be launched by the end of this year. So far the service has claimed back £100,000 in refunds.
Commuter Tara Summers, 24, who uses three different means of transport to travel from her home in East Dulwich to her office in Piccadilly, says that having an app to break down the procedure would make all the difference.
“The refund procedure is long-winded and more faff than necessary so I never bother. If there was an app that made it easy I would definitely use it, I think everyone would,” she said.
The site links Oyster or contactless travel cards with passengers’ TfL accounts,
providing Reeclaim with direct access to the accounts.
“We encrypt passwords before they go onto our database, we don’t store passwords. We only pass data through secure socket layers, it encrypts all the internet traffic that we pass over so that the data remains secure,” said Sternlicht.
“We’ve never sold data to date and we never plan to sell data.”
Zoe Cantley, 24, who commutes to her university in Angel from Hackney Wick via the London Overground, says she would use Reeclaim if she were sure that her data was safe.
“If it’s just access to my Oyster card that is required that would be fine, but I would be concerned about the app getting access to my bank details,” she said.
Reeclaim.co.uk is not associated or endorsed by Transport For London, who did not respond to requests for comment.
Once the app is launched, Zernlicht plans to branch out to rail networks across the UK.