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Customers quids in with £1 tickets

Press release   •   May 21, 2006 23:00 BST

Virgin Trains today announced it is introducing £1 Megatrain fares on more than a fifth of all its CrossCountry services. From Thursday 1 June customers will be able to book these bargain fares on the Birmingham-Bournemouth, Bristol-Plymouth, Manchester-Edinburgh/Glasgow, Morpeth-Edinburgh and Plymouth-Penzance routes. Tickets will be valid for travel from Monday 3 July.

These Megatrain fares, ranging from £1 to £10 plus 50p booking fee, will be available only for booking in advance on www.megatrain.com on 41 CrossCountry trains each weekday. Tickets will be able to be booked up until 03:00 on the day of travel. The new Megatrain deal, operated by Stagecoach, is one part of Virgin Trains’ commitment to sell more discounted tickets.

Currently 100,000 are sold each week through other channels, and there has been a huge growth of online sales. 20 percent of our tickets are sold via the internet through the Virgin Trains website and www.thetrainline.com and we shall continue to make great value offers through these channels.

Recent highlights are:
· The average price per ticket sold on West Coast services fell by 6.5 percent in real terms year-on-year between March 2005 and February 2006.
· More than 400,000 cheap tickets a week are now available across the Virgin Trains network at massively reduced prices, starting at £7.50 for long distance travel.
· During the last six months the number of pre-booked tickets snapped up by Virgin Trains customers has risen by a staggering 71 percent compared with last year. Over 107,000 discounted tickets are sold each week.
· Since the sweeping changes to booking deadlines were made last September the number of discounted tickets sold has risen by 59 percent on CrossCountry and 78 percent on West Coast year-on-year.
· On the London-Manchester route 33 percent of journeys are now made using pre-booked discounted tickets.

Virgin Trains is re-launching its website this summer to make it easy for customers to find and purchase the cheapest available Virgin Trains fares. With the new display of simplified fare categories this will reduce to a maximum of four on Virgin Trains-priced journeys.

Also on the new-look website this summer a trial of e-ticketing will be piloted for journeys on Virgin Trains. For some journeys passenger will be offered the opportunity to print their own tickets in the comfort of their own home or at the office. The initial trial will be on services between Manchester and London and Manchester and Birmingham.

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