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Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by csilke, 7 Jun 2017.
PayPal has vanished off the VTEC website
5 months and still no seat selector map for the Hull service.
I haven't noticed any of the missing features being returned. Though I have noticed that they've stopped mentioning the second phase of the website launch. I've gone from almost always using the site since the days of GNER to only using it when I really want a particular seat - and about half the time it won't let me change seat anyway.
PayPal is back.
One of three bookings that I have just made has flagged up as being eligible for food pre-order.
Three sandwiches, crisps and still/sparkling water or red/white/rose wine.
This is the selector page:
I guess I shouldn't have expected any more, but that page is useless! I'd like to have been able to select from items from the Foodbar individually rather than some pre-selected meal deals. The biggest positive pre-order would have provided for me would have being able to order Hop on Board in advance but it doesn't even offer a bottle of beer with the sandwich deals. Sometimes with Hop on Board it's so popular it runs out before you have a chance to buy it, other trains no one buys it, I was hoping pre-order could have provided certainty.
This current implementation means weirdness like if you want a tuna sandwich with still water that's fine, but you can't have it with sparkling water whereas you can have the chicken salad sandwich with sparkling water but not still.
All I can see is this pre-order make people think "well I can get a meal deal at the supermarket for £3, why pay £6 for less choice". It needs to offer things like hot food, served at a chosen point in the journey (if you're on a 4+ hour trip you might not want to eat upon boarding). In its current form, almost useless.
Isn't that more expensive than just buying the meal deals on the train? I had (perhaps rashly) assumed it might be a special offer for people willing to plan ahead, not another plan to fleece the unwary...
If I were to be charitable, I would say that it makes sense to try the logistics out on a very limited basis first, and to get any kinks ironed out. More realistically, I'd say that the extremely basic offer and lack of almost any flexibility suggests that this latest bit of lameness is well up to Virgin Trains East Coast's general level of honey-coated cack-handedness.
I don't know about meal deal prices on-board (never paid attention), but the pre-order price looks to be about 60p cheaper than the cost of buying the items separately from the Food Bar - so 10% off. I can only think of the odd edge-case where paying double supermarket prices to choose from an extremely limited range would make sense. If you're one of the wealthy, time-poor passengers travelling in Standard Class with large numbers of bags and children who know what they want to eat three days in advance, then this could be a winner and guarantee the franchise premiums.
Food pre-ordering was a franchise commitment
Paying £3.3bn was a franchise commitment, and we're seeing about as much of that as a Falafel Wrap and a can of Fanta.
I suggest you read Roger Ford's article in Modern Railways.
With the greatest of respect, I suggest that it'd be rather more useful for your employer to start providing a reliable service and an honest commentary.
Any particular reason it has taken almost two years just to get to this limited service?
That was the timescale agreed I believe, it was our dept but I wasn't personally involved.
So this has come out as a bare minimum meeting that commitment?
A very good idea IMO.
But, as so often, not apparently implemented very well.
Help, I have just booked a return trip to London in June and it reserved the seats. However I wish to change my seats to another option and following their own advice it says I can edit my seats. However it offers no seating plan where i can drag my new reservation to (like the old site). If you try and edit the seat it does not give you an option to change and I got a processing circle for about a minute then another email with a different seat, which again I didn't want. Is the seat selector broken and who can I contact to actually ask for a specific seat number, like the old (excellent) website offered. Sorry if may have been answered already but I had a quick search and couldn't find it. Thanks in advance.
Which service are you booking on ?
Booked tickets on the 08.02 York to London Kings X on Tuesday 12th June and return 18.00 London Kings X to York Wed 13th June. I would like seat D57 down and B51 back but no option to pick my own seat like the old site !
Slight technical hitch that our suppliers are looking into. Hopefully it won't be too long before they're back.
Have you noticed this has now reduced considerably ?
I couldn't change my seats last night either. The seat selector came up but gave an error if I actually tried to change seats.
Also, the instructions on the site for amending journeys are hopeless. And now they've the money for 4 tickets until they get round to refunding for 2 (-£20). I can't believe they're happy with the current state of the site. And the twitter team won't even acknowledge any criticism of the site.
And still the seat selector is non existent on my route. 7 months so far?? I don't see what the big problem is. They had it sorted well before this long the last time it happened, and the time before that, and the time before that.
Why is the "report" button so close to the "edit" button?! Fat fingers pressed the wrong one first time!
They don't appear to have managed to sort out any of the issue that people have been complaining about. The twitter team just ignore complaints about the website - they stopped talking about phase 2 of the website months ago.
We were looking at this today and may have found the reason why this is happening.
Just on the subject of seating plans, something I’ve noticed recently.
I’ve been using the 0730 (1E05) from Edinburgh quite a bit and it’s always an HST anytime I’ve caught it, however in the booking system it shows up as an electric when selecting a seat.
Interestingly I’ve never been able to reserve a seat in K so it is as if the system knows there isn’t a K.
The Virgin Train's [sp] East Coast website might not be around much longer if the government decides that someone other than VTEC will be running the ECML in a few months time. Can you spot the change? http://www.virgintrainseastcoast.uk/
Back to the 2007 era site, what would happen to it if the government or another company takes over the ECML franchise? Do they automatically have the right to use the booking engine or is it owned by Stagecoach? Could SWR have kept the SWT booking engine if they wanted.
What would most people prefer? If VTEC ceases to exist in the near term would you prefer the new booking engine scrapped (replaced with what? WebTIS, trainline or one of the other new engines that's popped up?) or do you think that it should continue to be worked on?
Also the callcentre, when it was brought back in-house is it owned by East Coast Main Line Company Ltd (t/a VTEC) or another company? When NXEC lost their franchise they continued to own the call centre that East Coast used as the callcentre was owned by National Express Services Ltd (NXS) and not NXEC. So as NXS was contracted by NXEC the contract passed to DOR and they were paying NXS for the callcentre until the contract finished and then East Coast outsourced to someone else (that's when customer relations address changed to Plymouth). So hopefully now it's back in-house that it is actually run by VTEC not another Stagecoach owned company as it may cause complications.
I'm sure that they would have the right to pay Stagecoach to use the booking engine and whether they did would be a financial decision. However, I suspect that Stagecoach are not as close to the exit door as some sections of the media are keen to suggest.
Yes, but First Group obviously didn't want to pay Stagecoach Group for their product.
The call centre is part of VTEC, not a subsidiary company. Under GNER the call centre was part of Sea Containers, and after National Express/NXS it was outsourced to Serco.
I guess nobody knows for certain, until yesterdays news my feeling was that VTEC would run to 2020, then end up getting a direct award until at least 2023 until the government worked out what they're doing. The news yesterday sounded like something needed doing sooner but of course they could just keep VTEC on a management contract (or running it on a non-profit basis as Grayling tries to spin it).
I have mixed views on the site, if the issues that have been identified (missing features and bugs) are close to being addressed then it would be a shame if it was ditched, but if these features are a long way off it may be better to go with a more established booking engine, unfortunately the only one that seems to support cycle reservations is WebTIS, the other operators that ditched WebTIS (Govia, Chiltern) tend not to require cycle reservations so not having that facility on their new booking engines was no major loss.
Presumably they wanted to be consistent with other FirstGroup franchises and stick with WebTIS.
I think that's good news. Bringing this all in-house was one of the decent things VTEC did.