Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK

Business: The Economy

Virgin Trains price rise 'insult'

Richard Branson's Virgin Trains have come in for strong criticism

Virgin Trains are to put up ticket prices by nearly nine times the rate of inflation, making them the most expensive in the UK.

The increases in standard and first class tickets, which come into effect on 26 September, average 9% - compared with an inflation rate of 1.1%.

The new fares will mean Virgin ticket prices have risen up to 43% in two years.

A standard ticket from Stafford to London will rise from £84.50 to £92.50, while a ticket from Birmingham to London goes up from £70 to £76.50

The Midlands Rail Users' Consultative Committee criticised the price rises as an "insult".

Virgin Trains justifies the rise by the fact that it faces a £28m cut in government subsidies this year and profits were being put into buying a new fleet of faster, tilting trains to improve journey times and reliability.

Poor record

MRUCC chairman Dr Peris Jones said it was "horrified" to see the latest round of fare increases "so far above the level of inflation", particularly as Virgin Trains' performance had been poor.

He said: "(Virgin's) West Coast services have met punctuality targets only once during the past year, whilst CrossCountry services met the target during one four-week period only since privatisation."

Dr Jones also said the Midland's rail watchdog was dismayed by Virgin Train's time restrictions on Saver and Supersaver tickets for CrossCountry services.

Passengers who need to travel during restricted periods would be unable to buy discounted tickets, he said.

Dr Jones said that, while Virgin Trains offered "very reasonable" fares to passengers booking ahead, there were problems with availability on those cheaper tickets.

He said: "We welcome Virgin's future plans to improve the frequency and speed of both West Coast and CrossCountry services, but asking passengers to pay increases of this magnitude for the quality of service they are presently receiving adds insult to injury."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

The Economy Contents

Relevant Stories

25 Aug 99†|†UK
Rail complaints hit one million

21 Jun 99†|†The Company File
Virgin Trains steams ahead despite delays

Internet Links


Virgin Trains

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

Brown considers IMF job

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

No longer Liffe as we know it

The growing threat of internet fraud

House passes US budget

Online share dealing triples

Rate fears as sales soar

Brown's bulging war-chest

Oil reaches nine-year high

UK unemployment falls again

Trade talks deadlocked

US inflation still subdued

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Bank considered bigger rate rise

UK pay rising 'too fast'

Utilities face tough regulation

CBI's new chief named

US stocks hit highs after rate rise

US Fed raises rates

UK inflation creeps up

Row over the national shopping basket

Military airspace to be cut

TUC warns against following US

World growth accelerates

Union merger put in doubt

Japan's tentative economic recovery

EU fraud costs millions

CBI choice 'could wreck industrial relations'

WTO hails China deal

US business eyes Chinese market

Red tape task force

Websites and widgets

Guru predicts web surge

Malaysia's economy: The Sinatra Principle

Shell secures Iranian oil deal

Irish boom draws the Welsh

China deal to boost economy

US dream scenario continues

Japan's billion dollar spending spree