Information and tickets  

Provision of travel information during the journey  

We work to improve customer information at all stages of a customer journey, including planning and preparing for travel. This includes information on our trains, the different services available onboard and timetables which are available from our website. 
All of our trains have clear signage throughout, giving information about the location and availability of onboard toilets and priority seating.
All of our trains operate with at least one member of customer experience staff onboard and customers are encouraged to approach them with any questions. 
Information regarding the next station will be announced onboard by our Train Managers or through automated announcements.
This is also displayed visually onboard and in stations. 
In the case of delays the Train Manager will make regular announcements and update customers frequently. Information about incidents which cause significant disruption is available from our website. 

Safety information can be found onboard on posters and announcements encourage customers to review this. 

How requests for information are handled at the station  

All of our managed stations have clear signage throughout, giving information about the location of key facilities including toilets and exits. 
Each of our managed stations are equipped with audible announcement and information screens to keep customers updated on the latest information. 
Additionally, all of our stations are staffed from first to last train by our customer experience teams and customers are encouraged to approach them with any questions. 
Help points are provided and customers can contact us via social media which is staffed 24/7 except over Christmas. 

How information about train schedules, tariffs and platforms is provided  

Our train timetables are available on our website or through our app which can be downloaded from your app store.  This also includes the ability to check the price for any train currently available for booking. 

Information about train platforms can be found on our app in the ‘live trains’ section, on the National Rail website at www.nationalrail.co.uk and on customer information screens at stations. 

Ticket buying facilities  

Customers can buy tickets for travel in advance or on the day of travel using our app, by visiting the ‘Buy now’ section of our website, or by calling our contact centre on 0345 528 0253. 

There are ticket selling facilities, be it a staffed booking office or ticket vending machine at each station at which we call.  Details of these can be found on the station information pages of our website or National Rail website. 

Availability of staff at the station for information provision and ticket sales  

All of our managed stations are staffed from first to last train by our customer experience teams and customers are encouraged to approach them with any questions. 

The hours of ticket office operation together with the staffing arrangements for all of the stations we call at can be found on the station information pages of our website or National Rail website. 

How information to disabled people and persons with reduced mobility is provided

We have improved our website to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines AA standards and we will continue to improve our app. Information on accessibility, access conditions and availability of onboard facilities for disabled people, people with reduced mobility and older people, is available on request from all staffed stations at which we call, our Passenger Assist team on 08000 158 123 (or use our text phone 0800 0158 124) or through our dedicated webpage Accessibility hub | Passenger assist | Avanti West Coast

Punctuality of services and general principles to cope with disruption to services.  

Delays  

Overall average delay of services in % per category of service (international, domestic long-distance, regional and urban/suburban)

All our trains are in the domestic long-distance sector. Average lateness of trains arriving at destination is 4.3 minutes (early trains counted as 0 minutes late for this calculation)

- % delay at departure

14.3% of booked trains departed origin >=1 minute late

- % delay at arrival (of which):

46.9% of booked trains arrived at destination >=1 minute late

-% delay of less than 60 minutes

46.2% of booked trains arrived at destination >=1 minute and <60 minutes late

-% delay of 60-119 minutes

0.6% of booked trains arrived at destination >=60 minute and <120 minutes late

- % delay of 120 minutes or more

0.1% of booked trains arrived at destination >=120 minutes late

- % of missed connections with other train services

Unavailable

Disruptions  

Avanti West Coast have contingency plans for line blockage scenarios around key geographies.  These are reviewed at each major timetable change (typically 6 monthly), with Network Rail and other principal operators on the route. These operational contingency plans are supported by customer contingency plans – our customer information and customer handling plans.   

In addition to these we have service recovery principles as agreed with Network Rail on how we endeavour to return the network to normal operation in a timely manner in support of customer journeys. 

Cancellation of services

Cancellation of services as part of all services in % per category of service (international, domestic long-distance, regional and urban/suburban). All our trains are in the domestic long-distance sector. 3.9% of booked trains were cancelled (each DfT Full cancellation counted as 1 cancellation, and each DfT Part cancellation counted as half a cancellation for this calculation).

Cleanliness of rolling stock and station facilities (air quality in carriages, hygiene of sanitary facilities, etc.)

Cleaning intervals

Station Cleaning

Our stations are cleaned throughout the day to keep the accommodation clean and tidy at all times and to BICs Standards (British Institute of Cleaning Science). Our aim is to improve the station environment by delivering a service that continually enhances customer satisfaction.

We want our stations to be clean, tidy and in a good state of repair. To achieve this, we work closely with the Cleaning partner to provide:

Daily Routine Cleaning at Stations

  • Public and Staff Toilets

  • First Class Lounges and Waiting rooms

  • Car Parks

    Other Services

  • Periodic Deep cleans

  • Window Cleaning

  • High Level cleaning

  • Landscaping and vegetation

We carry out audits periodically at each station with a KPI target of 95% for Cleaning Standards.

Onboard Cleaning

We are now undertaking an audit regime on overnight cleans on depot and 183 audits have been completed over the past year to April 2022. The number of audits has been impacted at the start of the year due to COVID but has now recovered.

The current cleaning product is applied every 24 hours.

We have utilised any additional cleaning headcount, due to reduction in train services, for additional cleaning including touch-point sanitisation onboard since the start of the pandemic.

We will also be fitting specialised HVAC filters with antiviral properties to increase the air quality onboard both our train fleets.

Technical measurement for air quality (eg. level of CO2 in ppm)

All of our trains are equipped with air conditioning and our fleet has a total of 774 air condition units on board. Should one of these fail our On Board Manager will do everything they can to move customers to an alternative coach where this is functioning correctly.

Availability of toilets

Our fleet is fitted with 542 toilets, of which 208 are accessible toilets (188 in First Class and 354 in Standard Class).

We measure the availability of our toilets into service. Avanti provided 99.4% of toilets operational into service during 2021/2022. To help us understand our toilet performance, we monitor the feedback on toilets from our customer surveys.

Customer satisfaction survey   

Punctuality of trains

In the most recent Rail User Survey, 84% of passengers were satisfied with punctuality/reliability. This has been relatively stable (between 83% and 86%) over the last year. Note this is over all operators, not just Avanti West Coast. Looking at our own Net Advocacy surveys, between April 2021 and March 2022 the average rating given for ‘the timeliness of your train’s departure and arrival’ was 8.32 out of 10.

Information to passengers in case of delays

Customers rated our ‘Onboard Information during a Delay’ at 6.7 out of 10 on our Customer Satisfaction Survey for both Q3 (October to December 2021) and Q4 (January to March 2022).  

This is a score we are focused on improving, and we are currently implementing the Rail Delivery Group’s Customer Pledges which set out best practice for train companies, ensuring accurate and helpful information is conveyed to customers.

We have also commissioned research on Information in Disruption, in partnership with Transport Focus, to find out more about what customers need in planned and unplanned disruption.

Accuracy and availability of information on train times/platforms

Customers completing our Customer Satisfaction Survey scored ‘Information about your Journey at the Station’ at 7.6 out of 10 in Q3, and 7.7 in Q4.

Our mystery shopper programme, Moments that Make A Difference, found that

  • 97.3% agreed that Avanti ticket office staff offered an appropriate and helpful response to their enquiry. (9 Jan-31 March 2022, 216 of 222 mystery shoppers).      
  • 95.2% of shoppers found that ‘all customer information screens were operational and displaying up to date information’ (9 Jan – 31 March 2022, 250 of 263 mystery shoppers).    

Consistently good maintenance/excellent condition of trains

The ‘upkeep and repair of the train’ is rated 7.5 (Q3) and 7.6 in (Q4) on our Customer Satisfaction survey.

High level of security on train/in station

Personal security during the journey is surveyed by Transport Focus on the Rail User Weekly Survey (this question has been included from 27 Oct onwards). In Oct-Dec 2021 Avanti customers gave a score of 71%, which improved to 84% in Jan-March 2022.

Cleanliness of inside of the train

Customers scored the ‘Cleanliness and Tidiness of the Carriage’ 7.6 in Oct-Dec 2021 on our Customer Satisfaction Survey, which increased to 7.8 in Jan – Mar 2022.

  • Cleanliness and freshness of the Toilets is also rated on the Customer Satisfaction Survey, receiving a 6.9 in Oct-Dec 2021 and increasing to 7.0 in Jan-Mar 2022.
  • Transport Focus’ Rail User Weekly data found that Avanti scored 90% for Cleanliness of the Train which was the highest Long Distance Operator and the second highest Train Operating Company overall (Report was published 13 April 2022 showing Train Operator’s individual scores).
  • In March 2021 Transport Focus carried out research with Avanti West Coast customers as part of the Interim Rail Passenger survey.Avanti West Coast achieved a score of 79% for Covid Safety and 79% for Cleanliness. Transport Focus’ published report stated that ‘Avanti performs well on overall train experience and perceptions of sufficient room for passengers on board, and is top in this sector for Covid safety’.                                  

Provision of useful information throughout the journey

Transport Focus’ Rail User Weekly report found that Provision of Information During the Journey for Oct-Dec 2021 scored 76%, increasing to 78% in Jan-Mar 2022.

Response times to information requests at the station

We do not capture the response times for information requests at stations however we seek to ensure that staff are visible and in the right place and equipped with the right information to help and advise our customers. On our Customer Satisfaction Survey customers rated ‘Information Provided about your Journey at the Station’ at 7.6 in Q3 and 7.7 in Q4.

96.2% (125 of 130) of Mystery Shoppers between 9 Jan – 31 Mar 2022 found that the member of staff on the platform was ‘friendly and helpful from the start of the interaction through to the end of the enquiry’.       

Availability of good quality toilets on every train

Availability of Toilets Onboard’ scored 7.8 on our Customer Satisfaction survey in Q3 and 7.9 in Q4.

Amongst Mystery Shoppers for 9 Jan - 31 March, 95.2% found ‘all aspects of the toilet operational and clean, free from litter and graffiti’. (250 of 263 shoppers)

Feedback about toilet cleanliness received via our Social Media channels and our post-journey Customer Satisfaction Surveys is shared regularly with our suppliers to help further improve the levels of cleanliness onboard.

Cleanliness and maintenance of stations to a high standard

On our Customer Satisfaction Survey customers rated the ‘Upkeep and Repair of the Train’ – at 7.5 in Q3 and 7.6 in Q4.        

Amongst Mystery Shoppers, 95.9% agreed that the ‘train offers a comfortable environment in which to travel’. (9 Jan - 31 March 2022, 255 out of 266 shoppers).

Accessibility of stations and trains

All Avanti managed stations are Category A (full step free) or Category B1 (step free access to all platforms - may include long or steep ramps). Access between platforms may be via the street. Train accessibility information can be found on our accessible travel policy page.

Assistance procedure in place

To read about our assistance procedure please visit our accessible travel policy page.

No of cases of assistance per category of service (international/domestic long distance, regional and urban/suburban)

 

 

Completed booked assistance

30290

Incomplete booked assistance

2043

Complete unbooked assistance

12500

Complaint handling refunds and compensation for non-compliance with service quality standards

We want every experience you have with us to be an easy one. So we work hard to give you a great service every time. But we know sometimes things go wrong. If they do, we want to hear about it so we can make it right, and stop it happening again.

We will offer you compensation if appropriate, in line with our Passenger’s Charter, and the National Rail Conditions of Travel. We will take account of other relevant factors when deciding on levels of compensation and use our discretion where appropriate. If you are entitled to compensation, or we deem it appropriate to offer you discretionary compensation.


Information on how to submit a complaint regarding our services is available via 
avantiwestcoast.co.uk

Complaints

The following figures are for complaints received between 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022.

The total number of complaints received during this period were 43,977. During the same period we closed 35,291 complaints. Please note complaints will have been received and closed outside of the reporting period, which is why the complaints closed is higher than received.

Against our target of resolving 95% of cases within 20 working days, our average resolution was 98.06%.

Total Complaints

Accessibility Issues 1%
Company Policy 7%
Complaints Handling 7%
Delay Repay 12%
Environment 0.0%
Fares and Retailing 8%
Provision of information 7%
Quality of Train 29%
Safety and Security 3%
Staff conduct and Availability 8%
Station Quality 1%
Timetabling and connection issues 3%
Train Service Performance 14%

Top 5 complaints

  • Sufficient room for all passengers to sit/stand
  • Punctuality/reliability (i.e. the train arriving/departing on time)
  • Facilities on board
  • Ticketing and refunds policy
  • Ticket buying facilities – other

Improvement actions:


1

Sufficient room for all passengers to sit/stand

As the effects of the pandemic continue, despite some elements of life getting back to normal, we’re working hard to balance customer demand with our ability to run a reliable train service. We have stepped our timetables up and down on several occasions to maximise the reliability of our service, whilst managing staff availability issues. We of course don’t like to see our trains crowded, but we recognise the importance of not overpromising the number of trains we can run, only to disappoint customers. We have prioritised 11-car trains as much as possible and continued to run double Voyagers to provide 10 carriages rather than 5. Our Standard Premium carriages give customers the opportunity to upgrade onboard for a much lower cost than a full First Class upgrade, but still giving them the benefits of additional space and comfort.

2

Punctuality/reliability (i.e. the train arriving/departing on time)

A number of severe weather events, particularly the back-to-back storms Dudley and Eunice in P12, drastically affected our train service performance. We focussed on clear and timely customer communications, ensuring that everyone knew their options in terms of ticket acceptance (different dates, times and routes), compensation or refunds, and getting everybody home safely. As a result of our proactive and customer-focussed communications, our highest views FAQ Y21-22 was advice for how to get a refund if you abandon your journey due to disruption.

3

Facilities on board

The continued impact of the pandemic led to more complaints relating to facilities onboard this year, particularly regarding catering. Not only are we managing staff availability issues, but our suppliers also continue to face challenges, meaning our menus have to work hard to give customer satisfaction. In both P2 and P3, we stepped up our First Class catering offer in line with the easing of restrictions, resulting in positive customer feedback. As a result, we’ve had to work hard to maintain this higher, post-pandemic standard for our customers, particularly with the spike in leisure travel meaning more ‘special’ journeys. Any catering failures (whether due to staff shortage, equipment failure or logistical issues) are logged internally and our contact centre will arrange appropriate compensation for affected customers.

4

Ticketing and refunds policy

The industry-wide Book with Confidence scheme drove a high volume of customer contact as we fulfilled e-vouchers and paper Rail Travel Vouchers for customers unable to use their Advance tickets. As with previous coronavirus refund conditions, we made sure our website was up to date at all times, with clear and simple instructions for customers to follow. We also created a bespoke process for customers who bought their tickets at our stations, to ensure they could still claim just as easily as those bought online, while our frontline staff helped maintain a compliant approach by retaining the unused tickets. As the Book with Confidence scheme has been extended further into Y22-23, we’re actively looking into how this process can be incorporated into the ever-evolving self-serve functionality within customers’ online accounts.

5

Ticket buying facilities – other

We recognise that our customers want more and more self-serve options within their online accounts, so we’ve continued to bring numerous upgrades to our website and app throughout Y21-22. Customers can now refund, amend and upgrade more ticket types than before, as well as now being able to access our Seat Picker post-booking to amend their seats. This is some well-received self-serve functionality which also helps reduce wait times for those customers who do still need to contact our Aftersales team. The launch of our new chatbot at the end of P13 means customers can be directed to the right place on our website and app more quickly and clearly than ever, improving the ticket buying and aftersales customer experience further.