According to new research by Which? magazine into customer satisfaction with airport trains, the link to Birmingham Airport from Birmingham New Street rail hub, operated by Virgin Trains, achieved top marks with a satisfaction rating of 87 per cent. Customers also said they liked the £2.40 price of a single journey.
High and low: customer satisfaction rates for airport trains - according to Which?
1. Virgin Trains - Birmingham Airport: 87%
2. Tyne & Wear Metro - Newcastle Airport: 85%
3. Docklands Light Railway - London City Airport: 81%
4. First TransPennine Express - Manchester Airport: 73%
5. Heathrow Express - London Heathrow Airport: 70%
6. Stansted Express - London Stansted Airport: 69%
7. First Capital Connect - London Gatwick Airport: 68%
8= Southern Trains - London Gatwick Airport: 67%
8= London Underground - London Heathrow Airport: 67%
10. London Midland Trains - Birmingham Airport: 66%
11= First Great Western - London Gatwick Airport: 62%
11= Northern Rail - Manchester Airport: 62%
13. First Capital Connect - Luton Airport: 61%
14. Gatwick Express - London Gatwick Airport: 60%
The Heathrow Express got a rating of 70 per cent, while the Gatwick Express achieved an overall passenger satisfaction rating of just 60 per cent.
The Stansted Express achieved a rating of 69 per cent - but the £23.40 price of a single ticket was noted. The First TransPennine Express train to Manchester Airport got a satisfaction rating of 73 per cent.
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Virgin Trains has
revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service
that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has
operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK
cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and was initially due to run for up to 23 months. The Transport Secretary announced on 26 March 2013 that it will be extended until April 2017, when a new long-term West Coast franchise is expected to start.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In October 2013 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the seventh year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.
Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Autumn 2013) overall satisfaction was 91%, meaning the company has remained unbeaten over nine successive surveys in the long-distance franchise category.
Virgin Trains was awarded certification to the internationally recognised ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard in January 2014.
Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011 and again in October 2013. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed its accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model, which it originally achieved in May 2011. The company’s Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.