Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Virgin Trains quiet coach a damp squib

I, like several of my contacts, was pleased when Virgin did not after all lose the West Coast Main Line franchise, because their trains are a lot more comfortable than First TransPennine's alternatives - and their customer service is better.

At least that's what I thought.

Yesterday evening I was travelling home from Edinburgh by train as I often do.  I sat in the quiet coach, again as usual.  And someone behind me in the carriage was playing their music so loudly that I could hear it even when the train was going fast.

You're really not supposed to do that in the quiet coach.

I wondered whether to say something to the person concerned, but decided to keep quiet and let the train manager see to it.  Which I would have thought was part of what he is there for.

He came in to check tickets - and didn't say anything to the culprit about turning their music down.

Then he came through the carriage again - and still didn't say anything.

By now fuming, I tweeted:
What is the point @VirginTrains of having a quiet coach if you are not going to police it?!
Virgin replied:
Hi Emily, we do have signs, and sometimes the Train Manager will make announcements.
I fired off several tweets in quick succession:
@VirginTrains If someone is playing really loud music and the train manager TWICE walks past them without saying anything... Poor do!
@VirginTrains Signs and announcements are not always adequate, they need to be reinforced and enforced individually!
@VirginTrains That is your cue to ask me which train I'm on and send the Train Manager to the quiet coach to sort the problem... come on...
(Emphasis added for the blog.)

I really did hope the last one might spur them into action, given that I'd actually spelt out how I thought they should resolve the problem, instead of just expecting them to think of something to do and do it.

No such luck.  Their reply was:
sounds like there are some very naughty people in your coach :( but yes we do rely a lot on the public to follow
By now I was spitting teeth.  As my final tweet to them said:
@VirginTrains That is not good enough. There is no point YOU nominating a coach as quiet if YOU are not going to enforce it!
To which they made no answer!

People will not always obey signs.  And it shouldn't be up to fellow passengers to challenge those who break the rules of the quiet coach.  I'm a woman who's often travelling alone, and I don't want to - and shouldn't have to - go and challenge some hulking teenage lad who's got his iPod on too loud.  It's surely the train company's and train manager's job to make sure that passengers keep to the rules.  Otherwise there's no point putting up signs to make a coach quiet.

So Virgin Trains, on this occasion you have won a Damp Squib award for poor customer service!

UPDATE: I posted a link to this blog on Virgin's Facebook page.  They've had over 24 hours to respond but so far they've ignored it completely!  That's a double damp squib!

1 comment:

  1. Emily, that is indeed a poor show. To reply with a flippant tweet (naughty people, indeed - how old are you? 8?!) shows they have the wrong person handling their social media responses. I've had problems with Chiltern Rail this week. Usually they are good at responding - this week? Nothing. I hope you get a proper response. I shall seek out your tweets!


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