Commuters of Virgin trains have lots to cheer about as the firm announced permanent removal of peak hour charges on its trains travelling on Friday afternoons between London and Euston stations. It said that this was being done to ease overcrowding on Friday evenings to off-peak destinations like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. Transport watchdog Transport Focus welcomed the announcement as now customers can travel anytime during the afternoon too as they would pay normal rates and passengers of off-peak trains will not have to stand for hours to avoid paying peak fares.
CEO Anthony Smith of Transport focus stated that Virgin should be praised for practicing an actual improvement in their service when there was clear demand. This step should serve as a lesson to other service providers too and commuters are waiting and hoping that others do not wait long to follow suit. Due to this change in off-peak fare a return ticket between London and Manchester purchased in advance that would be valid for peak hours would cost £ 212.45 while an off-peak return fare would cost around £ 86.90 without an advance booking and would give savings of £125.55.
Virgin had earlier carried out a 13 week trial session when peak fares were scrapped for Friday afternoons leading to reduction in congestion by more than 50 percent on several train routes that left London’s Euston station after 7 pm. This removal of peak fares is welcome for passengers as flexible work schedules require flexible prices on commuting too. The operator claims that though this scheme offers considerable savings for its passengers it has little or no impact on its revenue as during the trial period all that happened was that passengers took early trains to leave for home. The firm however needs to improve its punctuality rate as only 85 percent of its trains arrived on scheduled time during this year.