Transport Focus response to Virgin railcard changes

25 August 2015

Rail passengers using Virgin trains’ services on the West Coast Main Line will be dismayed to hear that they are no longer able to buy off-peak, railcard discounted tickets for use on peak-time trains.

To its credit Virgin were the only company to offer this special deal which was in acknowledgement of the high-cost of peak fares. The situation has not changed – long distance peak fares are still exorbitant, so passengers will be disappointed at this move.

This change could see huge increases for some. For example, an Anytime return between London and Manchester currently costs £329 but the journey is available to railcard holders at £53.85. If the discount is removed, the passenger could pay more than six times the price for the same journey.

David Sidebottom, Transport Focus’s Passenger director said:

“Passengers tell us that getting better value for money is one of their top priorities. Currently almost six in ten passengers on this route are happy with the value for money of their ticket – with more than three quarters of railcard holders satisfied. We can expect to see a drop in passenger satisfaction.

“If Virgin continues with this plan to remove the discount then they need to do more to contact affected passengers and communicate the changes clearly to avoid unpleasant surprises at the ticket machine.”

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