LONDON, January 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The National Passenger Survey results released today (21 January) show Virgin Trains performing well, with an overall satisfaction score of 91%. This score means the company has remained unbeaten over nine successive surveys in the long-distance franchise category.
But the detailed figures in the survey emphasise that action is needed to improve the experience at the stations served by Virgin Trains.
Virgin Trains, which operates the West Coast franchise, scores above the average for long-distance franchises on every single factor relating to its train services. But it scores above average on only a couple of factors relating to stations.
Phil Whittingham, Virgin Trains' Lead Executive said:
"I am very pleased that our customers have once again given a thumbs-up to their experience of travelling with Virgin Trains. Fast and frequent trains complemented by the excellent customer service delivered by our on-board and stations staff are key to these results.
But when I look at the figures I can see that while Virgin Trains tops the table of long-distance franchises for 'Overall satisfaction with the train', our customers place us at the bottom of the table for 'Overall satisfaction with station'.
We want our customers to have a great experience throughout their journey, and there is some good news on stations. One of the biggest stations we serve - Birmingham New Street - is half-way through a major transformation. At the other end of the spectrum, one of the smallest stations we serve - Penrith - will soon have a refurbished ticket hall. I hope that these and other planned improvements will move our station satisfaction scores closer to the excellent scores our customers give for their on-board experience."
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 (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and will run for up to 23 months. The DfT announced on 26 March 2013 a programme for letting future franchises, with the long-term West Coast franchise expected to start in April 2017.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In October 2013 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the seventh 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 2013) overall satisfaction was 92%, equalling our best ever score from the previous survey (Autumn 2012).
Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011 and again in October 2013. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed its accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model, which it originally achieved in May 2011. The company's Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.
For further media information contact the Virgin Trains Press Office on +44(0)845-000-3333 or visit our Media Room website at http://www.virgintrains.com/mediaroom
SOURCE Virgin Trains