Avanti West Coast Trains – beyond a joke of a company.

Back to Forum
Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 37 total)

  • Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Yes, thank you.

    It does seem strange they were showing different information, but I had them on adjacent screens, constantly updating, so somehow they were.

    To add a third source, standing under the boards at MK Central, they were showing a different set of information as well.

    It was rather epistemological…

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    alistairNicoll
    Participant

    Good job Tom you did not ask the staff as you may well have had a forth option o indeed a fifth if you asked two members of staff

    Yes, thank you.

    It does seem strange they were showing different information, but I had them on adjacent screens, constantly updating, so somehow they were.

    To add a third source, standing under the boards at MK Central, they were showing a different set of information as well.

    It was rather epistemological…

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    ASK1945
    Participant

    I have filled in my “Delay-Repay” claim, which has been acknowledged an hour later by email. The online claims form must have been designed to confuse and my guess is that many passengers give up. I write software and even I found it difficult to follow.I should receive back (“in up to 20 days”) 50% of what I paid for the tickets.

    Just to follow-up on this earlier thread, following my two claims to Avanti (for delayed trains), made at the same time, the claim for the return journey was paid out within 48 hours, but at only 25% of the fares, because they arbitrarily decided that the delay was not over an hour (which it was). I can’t be bothered to challenge this.

    It has taken them over two weeks to pay the outward journey. They have agreed the delay and they have refunded 50% of the fares paid.


    rferguson
    Participant

    I’d booked myself from Manchester to London on the last train of the evening this Friday just gone as I had something I needed to be in London for Saturday morning.

    As experience has taught me I was checking the Avanti throughout the day for cancellations. My 21:15 train from Manchester was cancelled when I checked around midday. Not only that, but also the 20:15, the second last train of the day. I considered taking the first train down in the morning on Saturday, but alas, cancelled as well. According to the website, these services were cancelled due to a ‘staff shortage’.

    I rocked up for the 19:15 and had a thoroughly pleasant trip down. The train was one of the newly refurbished ones, was not full and was bang on schedule.

    I couldn’t help but feel for the (probably hundreds of) people that would be turning up at Piccadilly for the 20:15 and 21:15 trains to find out they’d been left high and dry without even an email from Avanti to advise them of the cancellation so they could make alternative plans in good time. I’m sure many plans were ruined. It’s like the bad old days of air travel before EU261 ‘here’s your money back, sort yourself out’.

    If Avanti cannot run a service that even vaguely resembles the timetable they publish, they should at a minimum be held accountable for not proactively reaching out in ample time to disrupted passengers.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Avanti West Coast is having to cancel some trains today (Sunday August 7) “because of a shortage of train crew” according to its website.

    “Services that do run are expected to be very busy” says Avanti.

    Avanti’s performance was recently discussed at the House of Lords, reports RAIL.

    https://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2022/07/20/lords-discuss-concerns-over-avanti-west-coast


    ASK1945
    Participant

    If you have booked a specific train time, with a reserved seat, and then that train is cancelled “because of a shortage of train crew” then you are automically entitled to a partial refund even if the replacement (next) train you get arrives at its destination on time.

    As I understand the current financial structure, the company is working to a fixed income from the government and all income derived from the sale of tickets goes to the Treasury, likewise the “Delay-Repay” is paid from this income, not the company’s franchise payment. So, if I have this right, the company profits from cancelled trains because there are no staff being paid.

    Is my understanding correct? Or, do the companies get penalised for not delivering the agreed service?


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I can only answer your second paragraph ASK1945.

    Yes as I have reported for Online News UK rail currently operates under “emergency measures.”

    Delay Repay used to be paid by Network Rail. I don’t know the situation today.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dft-payments-to-passenger-rail-operators-under-emergency-agreements

    These measures were introduced when the pandemic started.

    What must be stressed is that emergency measures apply on to TOCs (train operating companies) which have paid franchise fees to the government.

    Open access operators, who have paid no franchise fees, operate at their own financial risk. See below for one report we published in 2020.

    Hull Trains planning to restart London route this month

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    UPDATE

    Avanti West Coast has just announced schedule cuts effective August 14.

    The cuts in question are significant and are similar to those Avanti operated during the pandemic.

    Our copy will be posted shortly online.


    MKB1964
    Participant

    Talk to any Avanti crew and you hear the same story. Since the switch from Virgin, management have treated them abysmally. For example, I was told it’s not uncommon for staff to be left stranded away from base and unable to get anyone from Ops to help get them home.

    Most of the current problems are because staff are simply refusing to volunteer for extra shifts, especially at weekends, and who can blame then given how they’re being treated.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    The evening before tomorrow’s rail strike and the current Avanti service operates once every hour (normally it would be three trains an hour) to Manchester.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Avanti West Coast granted six month extension today (October 7)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63169383


    rferguson
    Participant

    I’d booked myself from Manchester to London on the last train of the evening this Friday just gone as I had something I needed to be in London for Saturday morning.

    As experience has taught me I was checking the Avanti throughout the day for cancellations. My 21:15 train from Manchester was cancelled when I checked around midday. Not only that, but also the 20:15, the second last train of the day. I considered taking the first train down in the morning on Saturday, but alas, cancelled as well. According to the website, these services were cancelled due to a ‘staff shortage’.

    I rocked up for the 19:15 and had a thoroughly pleasant trip down. The train was one of the newly refurbished ones, was not full and was bang on schedule.

    I couldn’t help but feel for the (probably hundreds of) people that would be turning up at Piccadilly for the 20:15 and 21:15 trains to find out they’d been left high and dry without even an email from Avanti to advise them of the cancellation so they could make alternative plans in good time. I’m sure many plans were ruined. It’s like the bad old days of air travel before EU261 ‘here’s your money back, sort yourself out’.

    If Avanti cannot run a service that even vaguely resembles the timetable they publish, they should at a minimum be held accountable for not proactively reaching out in ample time to disrupted passengers.

    In regard to Avanti’s appalling (lack of) Customer Service which was just not getting better I did something I have never done before – complained to my MP. I expected it to be a futile exercise and kept emotion out of my letter and stuck to facts. I highlighted two main points that I was sick to death with:

    1) Their lack of communication when trains are cancelled at short notice.

    2) The lateness that they release their timetable for services, especially at weekends, which can often be two or three days in advance.

    I initially received a ‘thanks for your letter’ generic reply and expected that to be the last I would hear. About a month later I had another reply from my MP with a very detailed letter from the ‘Regional Growth Manager’ at Avanti responding to my issues.

    On the first issue of lack of communication/notification he provided a ridiculous excuse – that as I had ticked the ‘don’t contact me’ box when making reservations Avanti wouldn’t contact me. Absolutely absurd. I tick that box every time I make a booking with any travel related company and they still contact me when they cancel a service.

    On the second issue, the reply was quite pathetic. Basically, the manager said that in order to staff a weekend timetable they rely entirely on staff volunteering for overtime. And they often don’t know how many volunteers they will have until the week before.

    I would love to have the ability to do what I tell others when they aren’t happy with their travel provider – vote with your wallet and go elsewhere! Unfortunately, Avanti pretty much holds me hostage for travel. I’d happily fly, but with the LHR flight caps BA obviously cut the nearest destinations to LHR first and services have reduced from seven or eight a day to two or three – which in term end up absurdly expensive.

    Avanti needs a total top – down re-organisation. Their frontline staff always seem to be eager to help yet they simply do not seem to have the resources provided like tablets with real time information etc. Avanti needs to redirect some of their dividends they are paying their shareholders to investing in new technology as a priority.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    alistairNicoll
    Participant

    ASK1945 Quite brilliant response from Avanti

    I guess when you made the reservation they did not send you the ticket because you had ticked the box. Correct me if I am wrong but is not the box to say you don’t want marketing info and not no contact at all

    On the volunteer thing it is true that they rely on staff to volunteer and have done for years and years probably because the unions refuse to negotiate a 7 day working week. However the big question that is avoid is the one why when such a system of volunteering has worked all this time and applies to other Train Operating companies have Avanti staff suddenly stopped voulunteering


    alistairNicoll
    Participant

    Avanti West Coast granted six month extension today (October 7)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63169383

    my reading of this announcement:

    the government have no idea how to solve this so will kick it on to the back burner rather than risk even more embarrassment by being in charge of a shammbles

    3 users thanked author for this post.
Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 37 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller February 2023 edition
Business Traveller February 2023 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls