Virgin Trains East Coast franchise to end in next few months and replacement to be determined

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by FManc, 29 Nov 2017.

  1. westv

    westv Established Member

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    And even that STILL doesn't work correctly.
     
  2. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    I’ll rephrase “The only benefit to the VTEC website is the seat selector when it works”

    Silly me
     
  3. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    I've had more reliability issues with VTECs catering than I ever had with NXEC. They had their issues, they certainly were no GNER, but I only had a few occasions where hot food was supposed to be available and it wasn't under NXEC.

    One nice thing NXEC introduced that lasted until 2011 was first class at seat dining on selected weekend services (mostly breakfast trains on Saturday and evening trains on Sunday). It was nice to be able to buy a steak or a burger when travelling back to London after a weekend away. Although you had to pay for it, I prefer it to the sandwich in a box complimentary offering you get on weekends now.

    Rewards was a good way to get people to book direct! Imagine if they had kept rewards and then spent their marketing budget promoting it.
     
  4. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    That's astonishing. I've substituted your link for the one I was using. Whatever possessed them to change it?
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    ££££££££££££££££££££
     
  6. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    I don't get that. It's still there, so how are they saving?
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. Thought you meant why did they switch suppliers.

    I suspect the "mixing deck" was replaced with a more Trainline like interface by default simply because it's a bit too complicated for the "layman". It's ideal for people on here, but people on here could probably quite happily use a ticket office TIS, indeed some people on here do that as a job!

    No idea why it's still there though. Maybe they forgot to remove it.
     
  8. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    And yet they persist with diabolical TVM user interfaces! I rapidly approaching the point where I wish TOCs would just port their website booking engine!
     
  9. James James

    James James Member

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    Virgin Atlantic, at least in Business, have a much better reputation than the likes of BA, or any of the american airlines.

    In economy, there's no real difference - BA certainly do have the grottiest economy seats I've sat in ever, Virgin Atlantic are on a similar level to most other normal economy airlines.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I've on many occasions suggested a "Trainline machine" with the matrix (which is probably the easiest to use UI for the layman) and nobody seems yet to have gone for it.
     
  11. DenmarkRail

    DenmarkRail Member

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    Virgin Atlantic have a good reputation because they don't spread Virgin over EVERYTHING! I was in JFK, next to some signage to symbolise the partnership with Delta on flights, and it was a nice simple sign with the wording "Delta - Virgin" -> If that was Virgin East Coast, there would have to be a massive song and dance about it being VIRGIN.

    I still retain that I hope Delta and AF/KLM replace the Virgin brand with Joon, once the 20% sale goes through, although this won't happen as Virgin will still hold a 20% stake
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    VTWC don't either - the Pendolino and Voyager aren't covered in it. It's VTEC that overbrands.
     
  13. 3141

    3141 Established Member

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    I'm a "layman" - if that means a passenger and not a railway employee. If the "mixing deck" is that thing that comes up when I've tried to book on GWR. with combinations of just about every possible fare but no indication when you can travel with any of them, then it's not just "a bit too complicated" but totally incomprehensible, and I'd rather use the trainline and pay a small booking fee.
     
  14. cactustwirly

    cactustwirly Established Member

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    Use EMT or GA instead, they use the same engine as the trainline, but don't charge any booking fees.
     
  15. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    On VTEC, you'll only see Virgin logos on the power cars, locos and DVTs - there are no logos on the carriages at all.
     
  16. mmh

    mmh Member

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    That's not true, WC stock probably has more Virgin signage than EC, for example Virgin Trains decals on door windows, the Virgin balloon wall wraps in toilets and now the annoying seatback stickers about the Beam entertainment app nonsense.

    Only the latter annoys me though.

    The branding is clearly shared, both call themselves Virgin Trains, there is no advertising that distinguishes between the two, which is exactly the same as when cross country was Virgin. Both have been installing leather seats in first class with their logo on them.

    Both of them annoy equally with their "arrive awesome" booking and promotional emails
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Why does Beam annoy you? You don't have to use it. I don't think I ever have.
     
  18. mmh

    mmh Member

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    Beam itself doesn't annoy me, I've never used it and probably never will. Having an eye-level advert for it a foot away from my face for three hours is the annoying thing!
     
  19. westv

    westv Established Member

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    I don't know what mixing desk you're looking at but the mixing desks I've seen list all the times of the trains and when you click a price all the valid services appear.
     
  20. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    With the reverse happening when you click on a train time (i.e. all the valid ticket prices being shown for that service).
     
  21. w1bbl3

    w1bbl3 Member

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    I'd suspect that user/customer testing probably suggested that mixing desk wasn't that usable vs the more common list of fares as you get with airlines (or the trainline).
    Mixingdesk makes more sense as a booking by price tool rather than a booking by service/time, later is I'd suspect the most common use case. TBH both options really should be presented with mixing desk as "best fair finder".
     
  22. whhistle

    whhistle Established Member

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    But it works both ways too remember.
    Why should the company bend over backwards just so people don't leave?
    Remember, it's not a right to have a job.

    There's a lot of "maybe" and "perhaps" in your post, but you could just as easily say "maybe the new job will be closer to home" or "perhaps the kids are getting bullied and would like to move schools anyway".

    In order to understand it, you must take into account where the company is coming from.
    If things were really that bad, people should leave - make preparations now, apply for jobs inside or outside the industry. Or put up with the changes. Many people will adapt, and morale will be low but that's the choice.

    Many people adapted well to the 5p bag charge, or large petrol/diesel prices.
     
  23. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    Why would they remove the Mixing Deck? First still use WebTIS as their booking engine, they’ve just created what they think is a more user friendly front end for it. They might as well leave access to the Mixing Deck for those in the know, it doesn’t do any harm leaving it there.

    In the case of VTEC they were ditching Worldline altogether, the backend and the front end is new. Therefore they lose the Mixing Deck UI but First are staying with WebTIS so they can keep the UI around, there’s no reason to remove it.
    That’s what VTEC have done with their strong and stable ticket machines and it hasn’t worked particularly well.

    Most people didn’t join VTEC, they joined East Coast or GNER both companies people were happy working for. It’s not their fault that for political reasons the government decided to get rid of a successful operation and replace it with the highest bidder (something that has already failed twice on this line).

    So passengers aren’t happy, staff aren’t happy, VTEC are struggling. Many staff did snap up the chance of voluntary redundancy last year but as a passenger I’d rather VTEC is the one that goes so we don’t have any further decline in standards.
     
  24. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think that says more about the quality of VTEC's booking engine than anything else! Take the Trainline's interface for example. It's clean, simple and fairly easy to use (the only thing I'd change is to have it show all fares below the "cheapest" rather than having to click to make it do that). Why can't one of the TOCs that use the Trainline just port that wholesale onto a TVM? Certainly its a far better interface than anything that a TOC TVM uses (and its already clearly been designed with touch screens in mind!).

    Quite! With a couple of exceptions (notable because they are the exception) I've always found the staff of the ICEC franchise to be an excellent bunch who are sadly being badly let down with the consequent impacts on morale. I'd much rather keep the staff we have and ditch VTEC than the other way around. The staff have proved previously that they can run an excellent service. VTEC's leadership? Not so much...
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Like any piece of software it requires maintenance (bug fixes, security patches) which has cost. So if it isn't being used heavily, it may well go away.
     
  26. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    It could disappear if there's no demand for it, but remember Mixing Deck is the default interface for the WebTIS product, these other interfaces are custom and may not even have been developed by Worldline (Atos), they'll presumably just be using an API to communicate with the backend.

    If Worldline decide to not bother trying to sell WebTIS to other TOCs in the future then they may discontinue their front end.

    But you're right about the maintenance. I've said before that even though East Coast Rewards was integrated into WebTIS as the software will have had various updates to the software since the module was switched off a new operator wouldn't be able to just switch back to WebTIS and re-enable the Rewards module, it would almost certainly need updating. That said I suspect Red Spotted Hanky Rewards is pretty much the same codebase as East Coast Rewards (the Red Spotted Hanky scheme came first).
     
  27. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    You aren't correct there. The default interface is now rather Trainline like. RedSpottedHanky, which is operated by Atos directly, now uses that interface. You have to use a specific URL (like with the others) to get the Mixing Deck - and further to that if you've accessed the Trainline like interface even if you use the direct URL you won't get the Mixing Deck unless you clear your cookies.

    It seems clear to me that the Mixing Deck is deprecated.

    By the way RSH won't go anywhere any time soon (or at least not a form of it, even if it were to cease to be a public offering, which I'd be surprised if that happened as it's basically free money), it's mandatory for Atos employees to use it for business travel.
     
  28. pt_mad

    pt_mad Established Member

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    That's a point. What will happen as regards the seats if another operator is brought in? Such as DOR? If their(VT) logos are sewed in to seats?
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Pretty sure the branding is on a band around the headrest so could be removed, or at worst have another antimacassar put over the top.
     
  30. SteveP29

    SteveP29 Member

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    The mixing desk is the easiest thing I've ever used when booking or buying anything online, so simple, if you want to travel at a certain time after you've input the starting details, you click that time, it gives you the range of fares. If you only want to pay a certain price, you click the price, it gives you the available trains for that price.

    Also, the new VTEC way gives you a couple of sentences that tells you how far ahead you can book on weekkdays and weekends on the front page, but doesn't tell you that's ONLY for their services, if you try to book something beyond 12 weeks and it isn't a VTEC service, you get the message
    'Sorry, we encountered an error when searching for your ticket options

    Please try another search'
    which means you have to click the search again button, some people may think the website is not functioning properly, whereas with mixing desk, you simply get a message saying 'This date is too late' and because you're still on the front page, you just have to change your initial details, that in my view, makes it quicker to find what you want.
    I really do detest their booking engine now.
     
    Last edited: 17 Apr 2018

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