Metro derails online complaint system
Stopped in his tracks ...Perryn Fowler with his online complaints system. Photo: Joe Armao
You can do almost anything on a mobile phone these days.
Read the paper, book a flight overseas, send emails – but you can't claim compensation from Melbourne train operator Metro for poor performance.
You can't even fill out the form.
Commuters are forced to print out the form or collect one from a station, fill it in with a pen and mail it.
Web designer Perryn Fowler recently attempted to overcome this anachronism by developing a webpage where commuters could electronically fill out the form and email it to him. He then printed and sent in the forms on their behalf.
"I thought it was ridiculous in this day and age that you had to go through all that rigmarole to make a claim," he said.
The train operator did not consider Mr Fowler's volunteer work helpful and has rejected the forms.
"The MetroClaim webpage is a third party website and has not been authorised to act on behalf Metro," a Metro spokeswoman said.
Metro said it was making changes to the current form "which will enable online completion".
Commuters will still need to print the form out and mail it in.
Metro is not planning to develop a form that can be completed and submitted online.
Metro refused to say how many commuters had sent in claim forms in recent years.
"As a private organisation, we don't release those figures to the public," the spokeswoman said.
Under the company's franchise agreement, it is required to pay compensation to eligible customers if it does not meet its monthly performance targets.
There were four months in 2012 where commuters were eligible for compensation, including for December.
Commuters have until the end of this month to lodge a claim for December. You will need a pen and an envelope.