Virgin price guarantee app

faddy

Member
Joined
30 May 2010
Messages
141
Serious proposal or PR stunt?

https://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2019/05/31-virgin-unveils-radical-plan-for.html

RAIL passengers will save around a billion pounds in fares thanks to a new price-guarantee app, according to Virgin Trains.

The new technology is due to go live by the end of this year, and Virgin said it will ‘cut through confusing and outdated ticketing systems to ensure that customers are automatically given the best ticket for their journey at the tap of a button’.

Virgin is planning to make the app available for all National Rail journeys, and not merely on its own routes.

The app will also include a ‘seamless split-ticketing function, automatically calculating if a cheaper combination of fares for one journey is available’.

The best fare will be calculated retrospectively.

Virgin Trains managing director Phil Whittingham said: ‘The changes we’ve announced, which align with the Rail Delivery Group’s Fares Reform agenda, could save rail passengers around a billion pounds a year, and ensure Virgin Trains continues to deliver for customers whatever happens with the West Coast franchise.’

The revenue currently earned from ticket sales is around £11 billion a year.
 
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jw

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Joined
25 Jul 2010
Messages
136
Virgin aren't going quietly, are they?

Shame it has taken them so long to develop this though. I wonder how much of this is political at this stage in the game.

Not quite clear what the article means by "best fare calculated retrospectively". Surely you want it there and then and calculated automatically?
 

faddy

Member
Joined
30 May 2010
Messages
141
Not quite clear what the article means by "best fare calculated retrospectively". Surely you want it there and then and calculated automatically?
More detail here https://www.independent.co.uk/trave...ntee-booking-journey-cost-cheap-a8937521.html

As Virgin Trains prepares to depart from the UK railway network, the firm has promised a revolutionary new “price-guarantee app” that it claims will save rail passenger £1bn a year.

That sum represents one-11th of the entire fare revenue on the UK rail network.

The new technology, which is due to go live by the end of this year, is claimed to “cut through confusing and outdated ticketing systems to ensure that customers are automatically given the best ticket for their journey at the tap of a button”.

Virgin Trains claims that the app will automatically calculate the best fare, retrospectively, in the same way that Transport for London’s Oyster card delivers savings for travellers in the capital.

The ticket-management system will apply to train operators nationwide. It is intended to allow someone who has a peak-time return but who ends up travelling off-peak to pay the lower fare.

Alternatively, if a customer ended up making multiple journeys where a weekly season ticket would have been cheaper, the system will cap their fares at the price of the weekly ticket.

The train operator says the system will even deliver the benefits of “split-ticketing”, which in some cases can allow travellers to halve the cost of journeys.

On the Virgin Trains service from London Euston to Rugby, passengers who board nonstop trains pay £71 for an Anytime ticket.
But travellers on Virgin Trains that happen to stop at Milton Keynes Central can pay half as much if they buy separate tickets.

The train operator has been told it has been disqualified from the West Coast franchise it has held for 22 years in a row over pension obligations.

Virgin Trains is challenging the Department for Transport’s decision in court.

Meanwhile the train operator is keen to show how customer focused it has been since taking over trains linking Scotland, northwest England, the West Midlands and London in 1997.

Phil Whittingham, managing director of Virgin Trains, said: “We’ve been in the UK rail industry for more than twenty-two years, leading the industry in areas such as introducing automatic delay repay and digital tickets and scrapping the Friday evening peak.

“But we want to do more. The changes we’ve announced today, which align with the Rail Delivery Group’s Fares Reform agenda, could save UK rail passengers around a billion pounds a year, and ensure Virgin Trains continues to deliver for customers whatever happens with the West Coast franchise.”

Virgin Trains expects to go live by the end of the year across the UK.

Other train operators are sceptical about Virgin Trains’ claims for the system.

Jac Starr, chief operating officer at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “The rail industry is doing all it can to improve fares for passengers within the constraints of outdated fares regulations but we need to go further.

“An app providing a work around is no substitute for industry-wide root and branch reform of the whole system.”

The RDG has proposed that the current Advance, Off-peak and Anytime rules should be scrapped in favour of demand-based pricing. It claims overcrowding would be reduced and that four out of five off-peak trains would have cheaper walk-up fares than at present.

 

Ih8earlies

Member
Joined
23 Apr 2018
Messages
150
Surely other Train Operating Companies would have to agree to this?

By the sound of it, Virgin are planning on letting people travel with the app and then are setting the fare(s) charged AFTER the passenger has travelled. Doesn't that mean they are traveling without a ticket?

Please explain how I may have misconstrued this. I am all ears.
 

transmanche

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2011
Messages
6,008
Surely other Train Operating Companies would have to agree to this?

By the sound of it, Virgin are planning on letting people travel with the app and then are setting the fare(s) charged AFTER the passenger has travelled. Doesn't that mean they are traveling without a ticket?

Please explain how I may have misconstrued this. I am all ears.
I think Virgin's own press release provides some answers:

It starts off talking about 'Oyster-style' fare caps.
Virgin Trains said:
Customers across the whole UK rail network will benefit from an Oyster-style fares cap which will work out the cheapest fare for their journey retrospectively, ensuring they have the cheapest fare combination available.
But later adds some useful detail which I think explains it all.
Virgin Trains said:
The ticket-management system developed by Virgin will automatically and retrospectively allow someone who has a peak-time return but who ends up travelling off-peak to pay the lower fare. Alternatively, if a customer ended up making multiple journeys where a weekly season ticket would have been cheaper, the system will cap their fares at the price of the weekly ticket.
 

Marton

Member
Joined
9 Nov 2008
Messages
599
And what if the journey were cheaper by buying a ticket to a more distant place and getting off early.

WCML v ECML fares to Scotland from London for example.
 

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