New Virgin East Coast Website

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by csilke, 7 Jun 2017.

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  1. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Seat selector STILL not working for my journey. What a farce!
     
  2. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I know this isn't all their fault by any means, but they* really have not thought this through.

    Dunbar to Chester. Departing after approx 18:00 on 13/12/17:
    Go cheaper: £93 (is this cheap?)
    Go classier £172.50 (not sure an overnight wait in Edinburgh station is classy?)
    Go faster £93 (12+ hour journey time is fast?)

    Code:
    2150 Dunbar-Edinburgh (XC)
    0615 Edinburgh-Carlisle (TPE)
    0746 Carlisle-Warrington (VT)
    0926 Warrington-Chester (ATW)
    Arrives Chester 0953

    Or, for £30.30, you can book the following with Trainsplit:
    Code:
    1830 Dunbar-York (VTEC)
    2116 York-Manchester Picc. (TPE)
    2314 Manchester Picc-Chester (ATW)
    Arrives Chester 0015
    
    Are the claims on their website within the law? If they are, the law needs to be reconsidered!

    If they want to say they offer the fastest/cheapest journeys, they ought to use a provider who can actually, err.. provide that?

    It's not possible to book their own train on their own website. Is this unique in any service industry in the UK?

    Any consumer law experts out there reading this? Is there a case here?

    This is just one example out of dozens.

    (* By "they", I do not mean the people who implement it and do their best with what they are told to do, but people who make decisions regarding what contracts to sign, what marketing claims to make etc)
     

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    Last edited: 31 Oct 2017
  3. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    What are they saying the cheaper/classier/faster options are cheaper/classier/faster than ?

    Classier is subjective, but cheaper and faster are statements which are either true or false. If they are making false claims then there is surely a case to be made under consumer law.
     
  4. joncombe

    joncombe Member

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    It was the case for South West Trains when they launched their new website not that long before the franchise ended. They removed the ability to specify a "via" point so for some journeys (like Woking or Basingstoke to Exeter) it would only offer the quicker (but more costly) GWR route. When I contacted them on Twitter I was told to either use their telesales line or the EMT website to book.

    South Western Railway have not brought back the "via" option but at least it does seem to offer both routes.
     
  5. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It is not possible to purchase the second itinerary in my post above on the VTEC website, because of a combination of factors:
    • VTEC have made the decision to only offer though fares (ie, not combinations of fares), and
    • VTEC have not chosen to offer a through fare for this journey via the East Coast route.
    I do wonder if people like David Horne are actually aware that these sorts of decisions are being taken, and the impact they have on their prospective customers? I suspect not!
     
  6. hassaanhc

    hassaanhc Established Member

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    Checking using the mobile website,, Canada appears to be added now, complete with the ZCW code. I also noticed that Limehouse is added, which was missing in their version of the old MixingDeck engine.
     
  7. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    For what it's worth, the Trainline only offers journeys and tickets via the WCML (Edinburgh and Carlisle etc), whilst Atos WebTIS (GWR) shows the two journeys via the ECML and York (at 17.53 and 18.51) but doesn't offer a fare for them, because of course there isn't one for that journey via that route. (I'm sure you know this Yorkie, I'm just thinking aloud and filling in the gaps for those of use who don't!)


    I guess one could say it's not just their own train, rather their own train that connects with two others on what perhaps could be said to be an unusual route for that journey. Nonetheless, I suppose there should be a through fare for this journey, given it offers a departure an hour later than the last via WCML journey.
     
  8. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Wonder how that happened! Imperial Wharf is added too, although nobody had noticed it was missing.
     
  9. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    I think it was Charlie Brown who captured it best with the immortal line "Oh Good Grief". VTEC don't provide a fare for a journey where other operators do, shocking.
     
    Last edited: 1 Nov 2017
  10. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    'Booking error' when trying to buy gift vouchers for me today.

    I'll see if it works by sending a Telex.
     
  11. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I guess this shows what we're up against. I'm not having a go at you; it's a cultural problem.

    We would much rather work with you than against you.

    Surely we want the same thing: your customers to be offered a good price, a good itinerary, a good journey and a good and seamless booking experience?
     
  12. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    VTEC don't provide the majority of the services for that journey or indeed any part of that journey so why would we price it?
     
  13. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    VTEC price the Any Permitted fare from Edinburgh to Preston. There's often little logic in who prices what.
     
  14. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't agree with logic for why VTEC don't price a fare for this journey, but I will point out that the VTEC portion (Dunbar to York) is over 172 miles, while the TPE/ATW portion is just over 108 miles. So the majority of the journey in question would be on a VTEC train.

    But you don't need to price a fare to be able to offer the journey; you could offer combinations of fares instead.

    VTEC only operate a minority of the journey between, say Doncaster and Penzance, but you still price it.

    And I will also give Retford to Doncaster as a good example where the logic fails; most passengers would surely go with Hull Trains. Even if you take VTEC as far as Doncaster, you're unlikely to be on VTEC for long. So if we use that logic, why does VTEC price it?

    The answer is that conventional logic doesn't really apply when it comes to railway ticketing, and one must keep an open mind, and ensure pragmatic solutions are implemented.
     
    Last edited: 1 Nov 2017
  15. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Presumably there isn't a number to ring with queries about the website - as opposed to the "customer services" number.
     
  16. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Web support is 03457 225 111

    However if it's an issue with website functionality, i believe the relevant people read this thread.
     
  17. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Ok thanks. Well I was going to try and call them about the seat selector not working correctly since the new site went live.
     
  18. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    This bizarre response speaks volumes.

    VTEC price Thirsk to Wick, Fort William, Oban, Gourock, Stranraer and a huge number of Scottish stations in between. Can you remind us how many VTEC services stop at Thirsk.
     
    Last edited: 1 Nov 2017
  19. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Regarding Dunbar to Chester, we could equally ask why TransPennine Express or CrossCountry* don't set a fare via the East Coast route.

    *What is it with capitals letters half way through a single word name?!
     
  20. hounddog

    hounddog Member

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    Didn't it start with EastEnders?
     
  21. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    TPE don't serve Dunbar, unlike VTEC (and XC of course)
     
  22. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Indeed. There are numerous ways in which this could be resolved.

    But, in the meantime, I would argue that the website makes claims that are not accurate.
     
  23. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    VTEC don't serve Chester, so that's hardly good logic. And TPE price Berwick to Chester, so why not Dunbar as well?
     
  24. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    VTEC & XC serve Dunbar so it is logical to suggest that either might price a journey via the East Coast.

    TPE serve neither Dunbar nor Chester, hence I see no logic in them pricing the journey. Just because they price one journey for no obvious reason doesn't make it logical that they should price another. Why do you think they should ?
     
  25. Romilly

    Romilly Established Member

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    So this morning I want to buy a ticket for a VTEC journey on Sunday 21 January 2018. By 10am, the front page of the VTEC site was saying that tickets were available for weekend travel up to and including 21 January, yet try to book the ticket and the site still (at 10.44am) says tickets are not yet available for that date, although they have been available on e.g. the C2C site (albeit without the seat selector) since 10am. I find it baffling that a train company is the last retailer to upload tickets for journeys on its own services: it certainly doesn't make obvious commercial sense.

    More unhelpfully, the VTEC site also said that tickets were not yet available for the weekday return leg of my journey, even though if I had been looking for a ticket just for that leg the site would have sold me a ticket. Although, to be fair, if one starts one's search from a different bit of the site the message for the return leg is somewhat more nuanced, namely, that non-availability for the outward leg is preventing the planner searching for tickets for the return leg.
     
  26. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes there are issues with the implementation of restricting the dates.

    It can lead to all sorts of problems, including removing the ability to book fares on operators such as Hull Trains and Grand Central. When this was reported to VTEC, they were not bothered and said it was by design. :rolleyes:
     
  27. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Does anybody know the current turnaround time for responses to emailed website functionality questions?
     
  28. 91109

    91109 Member

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    10-14 working days. Emails are responded to by oldest date first.
     
  29. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    eVoucher purchase now working again. Not without the 'Oh, Awkward' message and a half hour delay in getting them confirmed while the system sent the AmEx SecureCode approved transaction for a 'fraud review' though, of course.
     
  30. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    What's the main point of eVouchers now? In the East Coast days the purchaser used to get rewards points on them, they also had no expiry date. A lot of people bought eVouchers from EC in February to effectively earn rewards points on future bookings. Now they have an expiry date and you don't earn points on them.

    Back on the old site purchasing (even part purchase) with a voucher unlocked the tickets for any card collection. When I tried the same on the new site (near the beginning so may have changed) I couldn't retrieve my tickets for a voucher part purchase with a different card. I've not tried since then.

    @yorkie - Dunbar to Chester, found another weird bug. Click this link and now notice whichever of the options you select you get the annoying message telling you you're missing out on a trip with their good friends VTWC that's despite all of the options including VTWC (and a small VTEC segment) in the trip.
     
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