The founder of a new start-up which uses technology to refund rail passengers automatically says his platform will force train companies to tackle delays.
Reeclaim uses sophisticated technology to scan a commuter’s tube and train journeys on Transport for London’s network to determine if they are due a refund.
It then submits a refund request to Transport for London (TfL) on behalf of the passenger, who will then be credited the full amount if the claim is approved.
Founder Zevi Sternlicht used his programming background to develop the platform after he attempted to request a refund himself and realised just how long the process takes.
“I used to commute to Kentish Town and I had to take a tube journey and a London Overground journey every day and suffice it to say it was frustrating enough just having to do that every day,” he told BusinessCloud.
“When I got home after one particularly long journey I decided I’m not going to let TfL get away with it.
“It wasn’t even about the money it was just a way to make myself feel better – but then I realised it isn’t so simple to get it back. Which station did you come from? Which station did you travel to? What line did you travel on?
“I’m a programmer by nature and it just bothered me that they were asking all these questions. It’s just a lengthy process when it can be simplified so much more.”
Reeclaim’s system works by allowing users to link their Oyster or contactless travel cards with their TfL accounts – and then providing Reeclaim with access to those accounts.
The start-up is also currently developing a new app to provide users with an overview of their journeys and a summary of their claims and refunds.
Sternlicht said the app could also allow the company to begin generating revenue.
“We definitely would like to monetise it – but however we do that, we don’t want to be charging the commuter,” he said.
“Reeclaim was built with the view of helping people out. We want to make it profitable for us but it can’t be through charging the commuter.
“What we’re currently working on is building a rewards system into the Reeclaim app to provide commuters with promotions tailor-made for them based on their location and their commuting pattern.
“We’re hoping it will be a win-win: the user will be able to benefit from rewards and discounts and we could potentially take a revenue share from the third party.”
Sternlicht also addressed any concerns that users may have about their personal data.
“We’re not looking to sell data to anybody and the way we would utilise the data is going to be very non-invasive,” he stressed.
“It’ll almost be pattern-based; if you commute 10 times a month to a certain train station then you’ll be presented with rewards or discounts from nearby shops.”
Reeclaim has so far examined over one million journeys and assisted in providing commuters with over £100,000 worth of refunds.
Although it currently operates only within the TfL network, Sternlicht says there are plans to expand across the UK.
“The system is ready and waiting for more commuters to join in,” he said excitedly. “We do want to expand – there’s no doubt about it – but we don’t want to run before we can walk.
“After we cover the TfL network and feel that we’re providing a full service then our eyes will be open to other areas and networks.
“We started with TfL simply because of the staggering number of users that use their system every day – but the roadmap is to expand across the UK.
“The more money we claim from TfL, I believe, the more they’ll be forced to work on their delays.”