The Independent National Passenger Survey put Virgin ahead of other long-distance rail franchises with a satisfaction score of 92 percent. The company achieved this by scoring an above average percentage for all aspects of its train service, but only exceeded the average on one aspect of station satisfaction.
These figures highlighted the general dissatisfaction of passengers with facilities at London’s Euston station. Euston, which is managed by the UK’s rail infrastructure operator, Network Rail, is the main hub for Virgin’s West Coast Main Line franchise, and is considered to be in urgent need of an upgrade.
More than 60 percent of Virgin’s passengers transit through Euston, and the company wants to see significant improvements at the station to boost its own customer satisfaction figures still further. To this end, Virgin has opened discussions with Network Rail, as well as the management of the HS2 high-speed rail link, which will also use the station once the service is operational, and the British Government’s Department for Transport.
Commenting on the results, Virgin Trains chief executive officer, Tony Collins, said, ‘Once again our customers have applauded the service we provide, and I thank them for that. We’re pleased to have the highest satisfaction rating of any long-distance franchise. But when I look closely at the figures I’m worried because customers’ experience of using our trains is not matched by their experience of using the stations we serve.
‘We have made improvements at stations we operate, but a huge proportion of our customers use Euston, and it’s now time to improve the environment at the station. We’ve seen the dramatic effect on satisfaction scores that the upgrade at King’s Cross has had recently. We want some of that for our customers too – and they can’t wait till a new HS2 station is built.’