LONDON, January 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Virgin Trains' customers have given Virgin Trains its highest ever score in the most recent national survey of rail passenger satisfaction.
The rail watchdog Passenger Focus carries out large-scale independent research across the industry twice a year, and today released the results of its Autumn 2012 survey. 92% of Virgin Trains' customers rated their overall experience as 'satisfactory' or 'good'. This is the highest overall satisfaction rating achieved by a long-distance franchise since research began in 1999. Maintaining its long run of success, Virgin Trains' score beats the company's own record-breaking satisfaction score of 91% achieved in the Spring 2012 survey.
As well as rating their overall experience, customers also rate individual aspects of service. Among a number of high scores, Virgin Trains has again achieved the highest rating of any long-distance franchise when passengers were quizzed on the speed of their journey. The 94% satisfaction score means Virgin Trains has outpaced other long-distance rail franchise operators for speed over eight successive surveys.
Virgin Trains' Chief Executive Officer, Tony Collins said:
"Our customers have given a clear message to anyone who hasn't travelled on the West Coast mainline for a while: our services are fast and our staff are fantastic. We're grateful to our customers for recognising us in this way. If you're not yet one of our customers - come and give us a try.
"We know we're not perfect and there are clear areas where we need to improve. Our station scores remain above most other train operators but below our usual high standards and I am determined to bring these scores up to those we achieve in other aspects of our service.
"The weaker scores relate to the condition and facilities of some stations and we are about to make some changes at several stations, which will be visible to customers in the next few months. We are also in discussion with the Department for Transport about more major work that could be carried out at a few stations, which would bring lasting improvements for customers."
Notes to Editors
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Virgin Trains has revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Glasgow.
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport has awarded VRG a new franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and will run for up to 23 months.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In September 2012 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the sixth year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.
Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Spring 2012) overall satisfaction was 91%.
Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011. In May 2011 Virgin Trains was awarded accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model. The company's Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.
SOURCE Virgin Trains