LONDON, June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Virgin Trains has been rated best long-distance franchise operator for overall satisfaction - in the latest Spring 2011 National Passenger Survey. For the third survey in a row, passengers gave Virgin Trains the highest rating of any long-distance franchise operator when asked how satisfied they were with their overall journey. Ninety percent of those questioned rated Virgin Trains as satisfactory or good.
Top marks for punctuality and reliability
Figures for punctuality continue to soar, with 92 percent of customers giving Virgin Trains satisfied/good ratings (up from 89 percent for the same time last year), and 94 percent awarding top marks for journey times. Once again, these figures are the highest for any long-distance train operating franchise.
The station and onboard environment
Overall satisfaction with the station environment remains well ahead of the sector average, with 82% of customers giving a satisfied/good rating. The train environment performs ahead of the sector average in all areas with improvements in comfort, cleanliness and personal security. It's also a big thumbs up for Virgin Trains' staff with helpfulness and attitude of on train staff and provision of information during journey, rated 80 percent and 81 percent respectively.
Other highlights include...
- Overall satisfaction with station ( 82 percent, up from 80 percent)
- Provision of information about train times/platforms (86 percent)
- How requests to staff were handled (86 percent)
- Cleanliness of the inside (88 percent)
- Upkeep and repair (89 percent)
- The ease of being able to get on and off (87 percent)
In terms of overall satisfaction on Virgin Trains' routes, London-Scotland was the most improved, with 93 percent of customers giving a satisfied/good rating.
Across the industry, value for money for price of ticket scores poorly. While Virgin Trains received some of the best scores on this measure, only 59 percent of customers rated the company good or satisfactory. This is a disappointing result given the amount of work that has been done to improve and promote the availability of our many thousands of excellent value Advance fares on offer every week.
Tony Collins, Virgin Trains Chief Executive Officer, says: "I'm absolutely delighted that Virgin Trains has been voted top long-distance franchise operator - for the third time in a row. The start of this year was extremely challenging for us with some of the harshest weather conditions experienced under our stewardship of the West Coast franchise. We worked round-the-clock to limit disruption during this time and I think these results reflect our efforts.
"Passenger numbers have doubled from 14 million a year to over 28 million a year in the last six years and I would like to thank our passengers for this vote of confidence and pay tribute to the Virgin Trains' people who continue to raise the bar in terms of the service they deliver. Of course, I recognise that there are areas where we can do more, such as at stations, and I'd like to assure customers that for the remainder of the franchise we will be focusing on providing them with best and most reliable service. We are continuing to work with Network Rail to keep a real focus on train performance."
The National Passenger Survey is carried out twice a year - in Spring and Autumn - by rail watchdog Passenger Focus and is a key marker of train operating companies' performance.
Notes to Editors
Visit our Media Room website - http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/about/media-room/ - for an Image Library of pictures of Virgin Trains and the company's operations, or to subscribe to receive alerts to new press releases.
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997.
The current franchise runs to March 2012 and the Secretary of State for Transport announced on 19 May 2011 that the Department for Transport will seek to agree acceptable terms with VRG for an extension to the current contract to December 2012. We have been short-listed for the new franchise that will start in December 2012.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous industry awards. In 2010 the company has been named Best Rail Operator of the Year at the Travel Globe Awards (voted for by readers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard), and Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which we also won in 2009). In 2009 we were also voted Best UK Domestic Train Service by Business Traveller magazine for the second year running.
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 full results are available online on the Passenger Focus website: http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk
SOURCE Virgin Trains