Williams Rail Review – Virgin Trains proposal to reform rail by importing airline model

24 April 2019

Commenting on a proposal made by Virgin Trains for long distance rail services in the UK to be operated on similar principles to airline routes in future, Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said:

“Do passengers really want compulsory reservations? They certainly want smarter ticketing that is simple to use, easy to trust, better value for money and flexible enough to suit the way we travel now.

“Some people will always need to just turn up and catch the next service. Others rely on long distance trains to commute to work over parts of a route. Whether what Virgin is proposing could accommodate this is something the Rail Review must consider carefully.”


Notes to editors

Transport Focus welcomes the Williams Rail Review because it provides the opportunity to reform the structure and systems of the railway. Transport Focus is working to ensure the voice of passengers is placed at the heart of the review.

Transport Focus has made two submissions to the Rail Review:  Williams Rail Review: what do passengers want? (February 2019) and Williams Review – what do passengers think about the structure of the railway (March 2019).  A third submission to be published soon will set out the views and aspirations of non-users – since it is vital that any new structure also looks to attract future passengers as well as those who already use the railway. Transport Focus will also submit a report later in the spring that will review how far passengers trust their train company and what could be done to improve this relationship in future?

For further information please contact: Kieran Watkins: 0300 123 0836

For urgent out of hours media enquiries please call 0300 123 2181.

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