Virgin Trains' senior management have been asked to attend a public meeting to explain
their pricing policy and account for rail fare price increases of up to 27%, by
Warwickshire County Council.
In an open letter to Virgin Rails' Chief Executive, Mr B Barrett,
Warwickshire Trading Standards has raised several issues which it would like Virgin to
Primarily, the Council are not convinced by Virgin's justification for
the high increase in fares.
Research conducted by Trading Standards Officers has indicated that
such is the multiplicity of price combinations on Virgin Rail services that one member of
Virgin's own staff commented that "you need a degree to understand it". If this
is so, Trading Standards are asking how the average consumer is expected to ascertain the
- Inadequate Public Information
Trading Standards Officers have been told that no explanatory leaflets
on the vast range of rail fares are available and that to guarantee the cheapest fare
consumers may need to book up to 3 months in advance!
It is hoped that a meeting can be arranged for March, where
Councillors, business and consumer representatives can speak directly to Virgin Train
representatives about the issues raised by Warwickshire Trading Standards.
The Leader of Warwickshire County Council Cllr Ian Bottrill is calling
on the Government to make consumer protection a primary objective of the new Strategic
Rail Authority and establish an independent consumer panel to ensure that consumers
interests are put centre stage.
Read a copy of the open
letter to Vrigin Trains and the related press release: 18.01.99
Simon Cripwell, Senior Information Officer (01926) 414039
Noel Hunter, County Trading Standards Officer (01926) 414040
Bob Teers, Divisional Trading Standards Officer (01926) 414020.