Virgin Trains performance is good, but not good enough


“Our performance is not good enough yet,” admitted Virgin Trains today, although it welcomed news that more and more and customers are satisfied with their journeys.

Latest figures from the National Passenger Survey for spring 2009 show that the UK’s Virgin Trains has increased to 86 percent the overall satisfaction score from its customers, up from 85 percent in 2008.

In 16 out of 18 “train factors” categories, customers marked Virgin Trains above average for long-distance operators. Virgin Trains saw a huge rise in satisfaction on the amount of room on-board and scheduled journey times, following the introduction of a new timetable this year with 30 percent more trains.

But on punctuality, Virgin Trains fell behind the national average, as customers voiced frustration at delays caused by infrastructure problems on the West Coast Mainline. Just 79 percent of customers were satisfied, compared to 85 percent in the spring of 2008.

Tony Collins, Virgin Trains chief executive, said: “We are very pleased that so many customers have voiced greater satisfaction over many areas of our business, such as value for money, room on board and the amount of luggage space, and quality of toilet facilities. And the overall satisfaction score is a great tribute to our staff.

“But punctuality is fundamental, and we have not delivered that in recent months because of the continuing track problems. We have made clear to Network Rail that this needs to improve, and we are pleased that the Office of Rail Regulation last week published a plan of work for Network Rail to improve the quality of infrastructure.

“Only when those improvements are in place will we, at Virgin Trains, share the growing satisfaction of our customers.”