New Virgin East Coast Website

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

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  1. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    I was more amused by the poor journey planning (why is it putting me on a VTEC service for three minutes to Haymarket, to wait there for 20 mins for a VTWC service from Edinburgh which I could have just boarded at Edinburgh anyway?)

    Perhaps it is so that passengers can get a meal in 1st class in the three minutes between Edinburgh and Haymarket (I am almost tempted to buy a ticket just to try it out).
     
  2. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    The only point of eVouchers is any card collect; and the only point of eVouchers on the VTEC site is of course seat selection and WiFi codes.

    In terms of routing anomalies and fare availability, and I know that these have existed for a long time between even WebTis and others (eg Darlington to Cambridge where WebTis often won't find one-change Peterborough connections because there's quite a long wait, and routes via London by default instead) I have just noticed that Newcastle to Welwyn Garden City throws up some massive variations - VTEC wanting £124.50 via London and not presenting £78.50 via Peterborough for a First Class Advance. The latter shows on WebTis sites with no problems.
     
  3. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    Have you tried a part pay with eVoucher? Does this enable any card collect like it used to on WebTIS? As I mentioned before it didn't in the early days.

    Back when the site was in beta I took the time and provided details of the bugs I discovered and also suggestions for improvement. One of my suggestions was to add a question to the ticket collection preferences (see image attached) so that you could choose whether you wanted to be able to collect with any card without a workaround.
    image (1).png
    If you do the search yourself you probably won't see this oddity. I had selected that the journey must include a VTEC segment as I wanted to see if it would try and route down the ECML but it didn't presumably due to lack of suitable fares.

    To do this all you need to do is add &toc=GR to the end of the URL on the listings page. It does have some use on journeys where VTEC is a valid route but not the most likely one so this forces it to show up in results. Any other TOC code will work too.
     
  4. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    I used to always get my RTVs from delay repay swapped over into evouchers. Back in the days of EC it was handy as there was always the small discount when booking on the EC website compared to booking at the station.
     
  5. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Decided to actually try the bike booking process. Took a ten minute phone call. Much of it was spent on hold, after giving the agent my details, whilst they checked availability and generated the code.
     
  6. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    No, it started with InterCity (c. 1975?)
     
  7. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    I had success with emailing in my delay repay claims and saying I wanted e-vouchers not paper vouchers. Occasionally they'd not read the claim properly and send paper vouchers but most of the time they got it right. Saved needing to send them in again to be swapped.

    I continued the same when it became possible to request a cheque. Now there's a direct payment to bank option I just use that. I have a separate account to pay these things in so to limit the number of companies with the details of my main bank account. You never know when there'll be a security breach.

    The main worry is not knowing how long the hold time will be and also that there's no spaces on your booked train.
     
  8. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    That was a finger problem fixed Friday evening

    [
     
  9. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    We have a bug (a regression) that's been around for at least a month I've reported it to web support and still nothing has been done about it so I'll raise it here.

    Although I have a Flying Club number in my profile and although it used to be automatically applied to the booking, now if I select Flying Club it asks for the number every time. Nectar, on the other hand, still saves the number perfectly. It's amazing how VT on either coast seem to want to discourage Flying Club even though that's the Virgin branded scheme. There's rarely any Flying Club promotions.

    In honour of this bug Virgin Train's [sp] East Coast have added a new page discussing the catering lottery - http://www.virgintrainseastcoast.uk/lottery.htm
     
  10. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Yup that happens to me as well , at least on production. The various test systems work as expected so I believe it’s fixed and awaiting release.
     
  11. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    Thanks, good to know it's been fixed (well not released yet but you know what I mean)
     
  12. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    Sit next to the kitchen? I've had quite a few journeys on their HSTs in the past year when there was no kitchen to sit next to, the coach had been pulled from the formation, all part of the lottery fun. Cold food and drink was supplied by brave crew from trolleys wedged in doorways ahead of departure.
     
  13. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    I don’t think you could have got the catering lottery anymore accurate if you tried.
     
  14. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Currently 13 working days since I had to chase up the outstanding website problem regarding the seat map not working since the new site went live.
    Presumably the long delay relating to queries (14 working days is almost 3 weeks) is due to the new site.
     
  15. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Companies selling vouchers with an expiry date is just a scam and should be made illegal.
     
  16. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    How is it a scam?
     
  17. westv

    westv Established Member

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    i would have thought that was obvious. It's clearly done in the expectation that a percentage of customers will forget the date.
     
  18. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    A proportion of customers forget the date on their tickets too but it doesn't make it a scam.

    A scam would involve some sort of illegal or borderline illegal confidence trick. Selling a voucher isn't anywhere near a scam.
     
  19. westv

    westv Established Member

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    It's not really the same though is it? I would have thought most people buy a ticket for a specific date so they will be fully aware when that date is.
    There is no reason why a voucher should have an expiry date. It's a bit like getting cash out of an ATM and being told it'll disappear if you don't spend it within a certain time.
     
  20. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    I take it that scammers aren’t welcome on the forum so I won’t dignify that with a reply
     
  21. Indigo2

    Indigo2 Established Member

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    I wouldn't go so far. A more plausible expectation might be that the company's accountants don't like having the open-ended liability of unexpiring vouchers on their accounts, and prefer to keep things neat and tidy by having the liability "drop off" after a while, if the vouchers aren't used.
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The reason is because a business creating unlimited (by date) liabilities is really awkward for accounting purposes. A year is plenty, particularly now you can opt for money as Delay Repay instead.

    If a voucher is lost, that means the business carries that potential liability for as long as it exists if no expiry date is present.
     
  23. westv

    westv Established Member

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    How can there be any potential liability if the business has already received the cash? If it was a problem all gift cards would have an expiry date but they don't all.
     
  24. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Many do. There is a liability to provide a service with no money coming in. The company has to keep the cost of providing that service available.
     
  25. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    I think expiry dates are fine but they need to be long enough not to screw over the average customer.

    When VTEC introduced the expiry date on WebTIS they did it rather quietly so someone who bought these previously wouldn't think to check the small print everytime and then they find out their voucher has an expiry date when they never did previously. They should have communicated to people who had purchased vouchers in the past that this rule had changed.

    Previously the vouchers were entered in the system with an expiry year as 9999 - I can see that was frustrating for VTEC as all the EC vouchers had to remain valid so it's understandable they didn't want to keep the same.

    I think 18 months is reasonable, some people who buy these as gifts might not pass them on straight away so the recipient won't have the full period to redeem. 18 months means that as long as the gift is passed to the recipient within 6 months they have at least a year to redeem it.

    As I like talking points, it's worth noting most loyalty schemes will expire after a period of inactivity so they don't have the liability of points from people who are no longer active being a liability on their books. Some schemes like Lufthansa Miles and More will expire miles after a set period even if you're active (East Coast Rewards used to do that too, one of the drawbacks of a mostly excellent scheme)
     
  26. 91109

    91109 Member

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    Now down to day 5. We should be back within SLA by the end of this week.
     
  27. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    I've finally got round to testing this, and the answer is that it doesn't.

    The original payment card is still required.
     
  28. ejstubbs

    ejstubbs Member

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    Unable to even log in to the Virgin Trains East Coast web site this morning - login page either times out altogether, or comes back saying "Sorry, we could not log you in at this time".

    I tried looking up a journey without logging in - it took all the journey details, thought for a bit then came back and said it was too busy.

    There's a word (in fact there's a choice of several) for this kind of service, but few of the options are suitable for a family forum.
     
  29. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    Well todays shambles will probably increase the wait time for customers with queries.

    Today I've heard many reports of the 'Travel Buddy' (cr)app crashing when people are trying to view/activate tickets.

    The website was updated last night:
    - The Flying Club bug mentioned above isn't fixed
    - No (useful) new features that I could see (so cycling and amends at top of list, nor catering vouchers)
    - Earlier today I was getting a 500 internal server error when trying to view details of future bookings, now I'm getting a 500 whenever I try to view the list of the bookings.
    - There is one new feature, something that I bet no one outside of maybe marketing wanted - that's to increase the number of options under reason to travel. It now resembles the list of options VTWC gives you.

    So from what I can see, no useful bug fixes - @Wallsendmag if you have any change notes that you're allowed to publish it would be interesting. Actually looking at the logos at the bottom of the VTEC home page it looks like Paypal support is supposed to be available. Personally I'd never use it. Apple/Android Pay on the other hand would make Travel Buddy more usable.

    This project is so badly run it's unbelievable. Obviously it doesn't mean everyone involved in the project is bad, it must be frustrating for those that want to do a good job to be involved with this project, particularly for those who care about the ECML.

    If anyone wants to provide more background on this project, but need to do it anonymously, you can always DM me on Twitter or email info [at] saveecrewards.co.uk - I've heard from disgruntled employees including guards, other on-board crews, drivers and station staff but nothing from the non-customer facing roles.
     
  30. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    So this new site was launched over 5 months ago and, judging by posts on here, it is still not working effectively. Such nonsense would not have been tolerated in organisations I have worked with, but I get the distinct impression that in Virginland everything new is automatically Awesome and under no circumstances will reversion to earlier practices be considered.
     
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