Commuters paying £9,000 a year for train seats that aren’t there

The mysterious case of Virgin Trains’ disappearing carriage

Commuters to London who spend up to £9,000 a year on season tickets for the Virgin Trains East Coast service have described disgust at finding day after day that their reserved seat simply isn’t there.

Over 70 passengers travelling from Leeds to London on the 5.30am service have been repeatedly booked seats on coach G, only to find that in the morning there is no coach G coupled to the train.

According to the Evening Standard, one commuter said that since the beginning of the month, there has only been one day where coach G has been available.

Instead of taking their seats, passengers have been forced to stand for the duration of the journey, often between carriages, outside lavatories, or in the café car.

Regular commuter on the route Liz Housden said: “This morning we questioned the guard who went away to find out where our seat reservations had been put and he returned some time later to tell us that he had found them in the bin in his office.

“There are never any free seats in standard class so after [the guard] said there were no free seats, I went to look in first class and there were loads. I would say at least 40% [were] unoccupied.

“I think that if folks request seats, they should ensure the carriage is available, never mind the seats.

“Really it’s disgusting when you consider folks pay £7,000 plus for season tickets and I am paying £9,000.”

Housden said she’d emailed the train operators but had received no response.

However, a Virgin Trains East Coast spokeswoman said: “We have a seat guarantee scheme offering 100% compensation on the price of a single ticket when a customer’s reserved seat is not available and no replacement seat is available on the train.

“We’ve investigated and our customer’s service has temporarily been swapped to an electric train which doesn’t have a coach G.”

Overcrowded trains are an increasing problem as more commuters choose to use the railways. Last month a crush on a London C2C train was so severe businessmen “wet themselves”.

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