Virgin Trains has once again topped the performance league among companies operating long-distance rail franchises.
The rail watchdog Passenger Focus carries out large-scale independent research across the industry twice a year. For the fifth successive survey, Virgin Trains was ranked top of long-distance franchised operators, with 89% of passengers ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the overall service they received.
Virgin Trains leads the franchised long-distance operators in many categories - out of 33 categories judged by customers, Virgin Trains is ahead of its sector average in 27.
Virgin Trains significantly outscores average scores of long-distance operators in the following areas - frequency of trains; value for money; train cleanliness; ease of getting on/off trains; dealing with delays; and connections with other forms of public transport. In addition, customers have given a massive thumbs-up to a major investment programme in car parks, in partnership with the Department for Transport and Network Rail, with a 13 percentage point increase in satisfaction with car parking facilities
Virgin Trains’ Chief Executive Officer, Tony Collins said: “We recently achieved record numbers of customers, with more than 30million people travelling with us last year, double the number of six years ago. But the key to retaining those customers - and attracting more - is making sure they are satisfied. These figures show that we continue to lead in most areas of our business, by focussing on customer service and offering a service that is second to none among the long-distance franchise operators.
“However, we are certainly not complacent and there is still work to do to improve some scores. Satisfaction about punctuality has dipped, following a series of infrastructure problems during the summer and autumn and we have made clear to Network Rail that these need improvement.”
The Office of Rail Regulation has issued Network Rail an enforcement notice to bring improvements in punctuality on long-distance services, including on Virgin Trains’ services.