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
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.
Punctuality of services and general principles to cope with disruption to services.
|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 3.9 minutes (early trains counted as 0 minutes late for this calculation)
% delay at departure
|13.7% of booked trains departed origin >=1 minute late
|% delay at arrival (of which)
||46.0% of booked trains arrived at destination >=1 minute late
|% delay of less than 60 minutes
||45.5% of booked trains arrived at destination >=1 minute and <60 minutes late
|% delay of 60-119 minutes
||0.4% 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
Existence and short description of contingency plans, crisis management plans
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 urbab/suburban).
All our trains are in the domestic long-distance sector.
2.7% 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.)
Our trains are cleaned after each commercial service and we also undertake periodic deep cleaning operations. On all services, we have in journey cleaners that focus on maintaining the overall level of cleanliness en-route.
We are currently working on an auditing regime for our overnight cleans and hope to have the set up in the next few months.
We expect all our trains to receive an enhanced level of clean during a turnaround, meaning that on top of the standard litter picking and thorough toilet clean, we are also sanitising all regular touch points and tables.
We support this with our in transit cleans which focus on unattended seats ready for new customers to join.
We currently achieve a 93% completion rate on these and only return to a standard clean when disruption limits the amount of time we have available. Where this happens our in transit cleans ensure that the sanitisation remains topped up. The antiviral spray we use has a 24-hour dwell time, so ensuring that our turnarounds and in transit cleans regularly top up this cover, our customers can be safe in the knowledge that the train is sanitised.
Last calendar year (2019 – 2020) we took a positive step in increasing the length of time our cleaners were onboard trains and this is something we continue to maintain.
Technical measurement for air quality (eg. level of CO2 in ppm)
All of our trains are equipped with air conditioning. Should this fail our On Board Manager will do everything they can to move customers to an alternative coach where this is functioning correctly. Our fleet has 774 air condition units in total on board. Most of our HVACs have full heating/cooling performance available.
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).
At present we do not measure the availability of our toilets, (we measure toilet concessions/LOOU into service) but we are looking at a metric to record this in future. All the toilets we provided into service in calendar year 2020 were 99.5% operational.
Customer satisfaction survey
Punctuality of trains
In Spring 2019 we saw a decrease in passenger satisfaction with the punctuality of trains by 9%. However, by Spring 2020, out of a sample size of 604 customers, 79% were satisfied or experienced good punctuality of trains with only 13% of customers dissatisfied.
Information to passengers in case of delays
In case of delays, passengers rated the usefulness of information. From Spring 2019 until Autumn 2019, the satisfaction with this information remained unchanged. The results in Spring 2020 highlighted that 58% of customers were satisfied with the information and the TOC type % was still good at 53%.
Accuracy and availability of information on train times/platforms
The provision of information about train times and platforms was ranked as 89% satisfactory in Spring 2020 which is up 3% from Autumn 2019. And, the TOC type satisfaction score stayed at 91%.
Consistently good maintenance/excellent condition of trains
We strive to upkeep and repair the trains as efficiently as possible. In Spring 2020 our NRPS results showed 78% satisfied or good response from customers based on a sample size of 617.
High level of security on train/in station
Your security is always important to us and we provide safety and security information on our security page. According to the customer satisfaction survey there was a 1% increase in customer station security satisfaction in Spring 2019 followed by a 2% increase in Autumn 2019.
In Spring 2020 the security satisfaction rate was 78% and the onboard security satisfaction was 85%.
Cleanliness of inside of the train
Out of a sample size of 623, customers gave Avanti West Coast an 83% satisfaction for cleanliness of the train.
Provision of useful information throughout the journey
During our journeys we provide customers with information via visual screens onboard, announcements by the train staff and also via our app. According to the Customer Satisfaction Survey, in Spring 2019 Avanti West Coast had a decrease of 6% satisfaction to the information provided onboard. By Autumn 2019, there was an increase of 3% satisfaction which meant by Spring 2020 that of a sample size of 597 people, 81% were satisfied with the information provided whilst onboard.
Response times to information requests at the station
We do not currently collect data on the number of interactions our people have with customers. We do regularly review our staffing levels at different times of the day against customer demand and changes in the timetable.
Availability of good quality toilets on every train
All of our stations and trains have toilet facilities that are maintained regularly. We also have national key toilets at most of our stations for those customers who have accessibility needs.
At our stations, toilet facilities were given a 70% satisfaction rate in Spring 2020 - up 5% in Spring 2019 and 6% in Autumn of that same year.
Cleanliness and maintenance of stations to a high standard
Our stations are maintained to a high standard and especially during COVID times to ensure that all touch points are cleaned once touched. You can find out more about our cleaning and safe travel information on our website.
For cleanliness of facilities outside the train i.e. stations, Avanti West Coast scored 77% overall satisfaction in Autumn 2020. This was saw very little change from the same satisfaction score in Spring and Autumn of 2019.
Accessibility of stations and trains
All Avanti run stations are Category A (full step free) apart from Oxenholme which is 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)
Volume of booked assistance (statistics from 2019 - 2020):
Booked complete: 15115
Booked incomplete 1169
Volume of un-booked assistance (statistics from 2019 - 2020):
Un-booked complete: 7969
Un-booked incomplete: 7961
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
The following figures are for complaints received between 5th January 2020 and 9th January 2021
The total number of complaints received during this period were 33,292. During the same period we closed 35,159 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.
Of the 35,159 complaints closed 98.64% were closed within 20 working days, this is against our target of 95%.
Top 5 complaints
The top 5 complaints recorded during this period of time are as follows:
- Company policy - Ticketing and refunds policy
- Delay compensation schemes - Claim rejected:
- Fares and retailing - Ticket buying facilities - other
- Quality on Train - Facilities on board
- Train Service Performance - Punctuality/reliability (i.e. the train arriving/departing on time)
Company policy - Ticketing and refunds policy
Refunds were at the top of most rail customers’ agenda in this year of fluctuating travel restrictions. Period 1 saw the biggest spike, naturally due to the first major lockdown announcement coming towards the end of Period 13.
Along with the rest of the rail industry, our refund policies during the coronavirus pandemic were very much guided by the DfT. We created a dedicated page on our website for coronavirus information (everything from refunds to reservations, timetables to safety) as well as a banner on the homepage & six dedicated FAQs in our Help section – the FAQs alone have racked up over 72000 views.
For refunds, we not only updated our website, FAQs & customer responses quickly to reflect the very latest information in an ever-changing situation, we also put our customers’ safety first by setting up options for remote refunds, where usually customers would be asked to visit the station.
When the Rail Travel Voucher policy was introduced for Advance ticket holders unable to travel, we set up a dedicated mailbox for customers to request their voucher, with just three clear instructions to follow to ensure they’d receive the right voucher in the quickest time.
Fares and retailing - Ticket buying facilities – other
As with the ticketing and refunds policy contacts, the surge of refund requests due the various lockdown restrictions will have contributed to this complaint category being so prominent. Customers will have been used to self-serving via the My Account section of our website for refunds and amendments during normal times, so they may have been disappointed to find tickets’ usual terms and conditions in place online, rather than the special coronavirus policies which would often be brought in at short notice due to ever-changing restrictions.
We worked as quickly as we could to update the My Account functionality in line with the latest policies (such as the removal of admin fees and the option to refund Advance tickets), allowing customers to self-serve at their own convenience, rather than have to wait to speak to our Aftersales team.
We also had complaints regarding the lack of Seat Picker on the AWC website at launch, a topic our customers were extremely passionate about. As such, this was a high priority in the development of our new website and we’re pleased to have been able to offer this functionality again to customers during the last few periods of this year.
Train Service Performance - Punctuality/reliability (i.e. the train arriving/departing on time)
Complaints regarding train service performance were lower than usual due to the low passenger numbers and reduction in services running, but complaints did spike in Periods 1, 6 and 7.
Looking at the disruption in Period 1, of the eight days on which CSL2 was declared, only one of these major incidents was linked to an Avanti West Coast service having an issue. Three were sadly fatalities, three were Network Rail infrastructure issues (overheard wires and signalling) and one was another TOC’s train breaking down.
Period 6 was also hit with several incident days, including some issues due to Storm Francis (blanket speed restrictions and objects caught in the overhead wires), several intermittent signalling issues and one major trespass incident lasting more than three hours.
In Period 7, we had Storm Alex which meant more speed restrictions and an amended train plan causing many booked services to be cancelled.
We continue to work closely with Network Rail to ensure we run a punctual & reliable service. Our Back on Track (BOT) app is working well when disruption does hit, helping our frontline teams get the very latest accurate information out to affected customers. We also make sure to advertise Delay Repay 15 to ensure all eligible customers are able to claim the compensation they are due.
Delay compensation schemes - Claim rejected
With timetables amendments and last-minute alterations being more frequent than ever during the pandemic, the automation in journey validation systems has struggled occasionally with having only just out-of-date information. If the system cannot find the delay initially due to incorrect timetable information, customers do have the option to appeal, where our Delay Repay team will then be able to process the claim manually as quickly as possible.
We’re pleased to have been able to bring in significant improvements to our Delay Repay claim process, all further to customer feedback. Internally, our system now has more options when it comes to accepting or rejecting claims and what outcome is provided to the customer, meaning the working of the claims can be more accurate and the customer has a clearer understanding of their individual outcome. The claim form itself has been further streamlined to allow for a much smoother, more intuitive customer journey. We’re also proud to have introduced the option for customers to donate their Delay Repay compensation to charity.
We have also just signed of further improvements to the CX and automation of our Delay Repay system which will further enhance the experience customers will see.
Quality on Train - Facilities on board
Again, coronavirus is a major factor in this topic being in our top complaint categories. When at-seat service was suspended for safety reasons, we made sure this was clearly advertised on our website, with new wording, pop-ups & banners across multiple pages. We also adjusted the price of our First Class Advance fares, although we could not remove fixed price walk-up tickets.
Despite all this, food is still a very emotive subject for our customers and things like First Class customers having to walk to the onboard shop to collect complimentary refreshments was a pain point, despite being done for safety reasons. Our Food & Beverage team worked alongside our Safety team & company councils to allow at-seat service in First Class to return during the summer, when government guidance would allow, and this was done in a way that ensured customer and colleague safety was at the forefront.
Following government guidance, our facilities onboard have changed several times again since, but we continue to work hard to offer the best but safest service to our customers onboard. After a successful trial of our At-Seat Order service in Standard, with positive feedback from customers who loved being able to order food and drink from the comfort of their seat, we have now launched this in full onboard our Pendolino services and are trialling the same on Voyagers – where this would be a welcome addition for our Standard customers, given the shop has had to be closed for some time due to social distancing constraints.