4th October 2015
Virgin Trains is to offer passengers on its West Coast service a 50% refund for trains which are more than half an hour late.
But some consumer groups have criticised the fact that only tickets bought through Virgin can receive the discount.
To benefit, passengers must be travelling on an Advance ticket. It must be bought online direct from Virgin Trains, rather than from any other source. The journey must not involve another train operator.
The firm is expected to recoup much of its extra spending by encouraging passengers to book direct through its website and app rather than using third-party sources such as TheTrainline.com. Virgin estimates it will have to pay out £2.8m.
Some 5% of trains run by the operator were either cancelled, late by more than 30 minutes or failed to make a scheduled stop in the 12 months to September 19, according to Network Rail figures.
Phil Whittingham, managing director of Virgin Trains, said: “We’re proud of our record of customer service at Virgin Trains and are always looking for new ways to innovate for the benefit of customers.”
Mike Hewitson, head of policy at independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “This is a great step forward and we would like to see this system introduced across all operators and ticket types.”
The offer does not apply to the east coast line.
– Delays of 30 to 59 minutes: 50% of the cost of a single ticket or the relevant portion of a return ticket.
– Delays of 60 to 119 minutes: 100% of the cost of a single ticket or the relevant portion of a return ticket.
– Delays of 120 minutes or longer: 100% of the cost of a single or both portions of a return ticket.