Virgin on the wrong track (again)!

25 April 2019


ASLEF has urged the Williams Rail Review to ignore a call from Virgin Trains to move to a reservation-only system to force passengers off trains.


Mick Whelan, general secretary, was speaking after Patrick McCall, senior partner, Virgin Group, claimed his plans would 'improve the customer experience and end complex ticketing.'


Mick said: 'When Virgin won the West Coast franchise they promised services would be leaving Euston every 15 minutes. They positively celebrated the idea of "turn up and go".


'Now, under the guise of "abolishing overcrowding", the company wants the Williams Report to scrap the cherished principle of turn up and go which has been a feature of Britain's railways ever since trains started running regular services in the 19th century.


'The truth is that Virgin is more interested in foisting an airline system – with sky high prices – on the railway network.


'The answer to the problem of overcrowding is to run more trains to accommodate all those passengers who want to travel – not to force people off the network.


'We believe in an integrated transport system, with trains at the heart, for a greener economy. But the news that we have lost 90 million bus journeys means we have a less integrated public transport network as people can't get to railway stations.


'It's madness to force people off buses and trains and into cars when we are trying to tackle climate change by cutting carbon emissions.' 


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