Also, your Train Company *isn't* the worse - you just think it is. Remember, we had NO delays on Southern!
— All The Stations (@allthestations) 19 August 2017
At Save East Coast Rewards we are in the odd situation where we don't think our train company (Virgin Trains East Coast) is the worst, in fact it is probably still one of the best, but satisfaction levels are declining. The reason for that is simple, over the past few months the on-board level of service has declined and the online experience has got significantly worse. Rather than just giving our views on the decline we're going to look at Tweets that have been sent to @Virgin_TrainsEC over the last few months.
See also: Stop the East Coast decline
This article is just covering Tweets about the website. Next week we'll be covering Tweets about the on-board service.
On 1st August 2017 Virgin Trains East Coast launched a new booking engine. Although it had potential they released it feature incomplete removing features we've had for the last 10 years including the ability to change tickets online and book bike spaces on the trains.
We've written a lot on the subject already:
- Don't scrap the old booking site - yet! - an appeal to VTEC to not launch the site until it was ready
- Booking bikes on trains - a guide to other sites you can use to reserve bike spaces on trains
- Where to book train travel online - after it became clear the issues with the new site weren't going to be fixed quickly we created a guide to the alternative booking options
- How did the VTEC website launch go? - A week after the launch a retrospective look at how the launch went. Was it as bad as we predicted? (It was worse)
So what did you think?
You needed to re-register for the new site and supposedly within 24 hours your bookings from the old site would be transferred over. The bookings from the old site were just a read only view, it was not possible to make changes, cancellations or even view the full details (e.g. seat allocations) of bookings made on the old site.
The whole old / new site, need to re register, non transfer of bookings, cancelled journey by contact centre is complete joke. Nothing less
— Charles C (@crawfc_kent) 2 August 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC What is going on with the website? Why do i have to register again? Where is all my travel history?
— Tony Brannon (@TonyBrannon) 8 August 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC guys I'm trying to change a booking and the website made me re register my email and now none of my bookings come up
— Jack Rooke Pro 15" (@jackrooke) 26 August 2017
Why do customers have to re-register? Why did you release your web site with lost bookings? Why release it with less booking functions?
— degs01 (@degs01) 13 August 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC Your email asking users to register for the new site is *exactly* what a phishing attack mail would look like!
— Michael Patrick (@Immpatrick) 14 July 2017
As with a lot of things related to this new site, re-registration didn't go smoothly for many.
I keep getting sent round in circles - you need to register, I register, you are already registered, and so on...
— Barbara Hibbert (@BarbaraHib) 2 August 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC Your 'wonderful new site' will not let me log in using existing details, if I try to register, says email already in use!
— Nigel Burch (@nrburch) 11 August 2017
Yes defo new site. When I try and register it says I'm already registered and password reset not working.
— Helen Atkinson (@HelenAtkinson) 26 September 2017
Can't get it to register let alone log on
— Bishop Mark (@BishopMark1) 24 September 2017
Need to exchange ticket, online account says need to register new account. Try to do that, says already registered. Been all day at this
— Emma Holt (@emjholt) 12 September 2017
Changes to tickets
The new site does not currently support changing the date or time of advance tickets even though the terms and conditions say they're changable for a £10 admin fee. Their solution is to ask you to rebook the new tickets and then cancel the existing ones, despite the extra hassle you're still charged the £10 but it also means VTEC gets to hold onto the money for both tickets until the refunds are issued. This may make things difficult for people on a tight budget.
I can’t believe that you can’t amend tickets online now. How is this progress? 20 mile round trip today to change my ticket. Pathetic.
— John Wilkinson (@wilko72) 11 October 2017
The curse of modern websites. Trying to change my seat reservation on the @virgin_trainsEC site... the icon is spinning but that’s about it.
— Gary Taylor (@GaryTaylor67) 11 October 2017
— Iain Macleod (@iain_mac) 11 October 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC Not impressed with new system for changing tickets. Improved website? I don’t think so. Totally inconvenienced.
— Jill Scarr (@Scarrlett61) 10 October 2017
Why can't I do it on line any more. Seems a retrograde improvement.
— J (@Martoninc) 9 October 2017
Hi Melissa, you'll need to give our Web Support team a call on 03457 225 111 to change your tickets. ^MS
— Virgin Trains EC (@Virgin_TrainsEC) 4 October 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC your new website not letting me change seat reservations to seats that are available, like many not impressed
— SwiffyC (@swiffyc) 4 October 2017
..such a retrograde step to have to buy another ticket and refund the old one if you want to change a date or time.
— Mark Taylor (@WorkieTicket) 27 September 2017
Train tickets but cannot do that on the website spent £ going to Kings x to change my ticket. You need a better website the old one was good
— Rashmi Dubé (@RashmiDube) 24 September 2017
Website says people can't change tickets but must buy a new ticket before they can claim a refund on the old one. What if they're skint?
— Maeve Sherlock (@MaeveSherlock) 13 September 2017
Bad cust service from @Virgin_TrainsEC
Booked tickets on old website. Cant change them on the new one. 20 mins in phone Q to be told this.
— iain campbell (@iaincampbell07) 9 September 2017
— Paul C (@PaulC_67) 7 September 2017
Brilliant answer. That's filled me with hope. Still sitting here 30 mins later trying to change the time of booking. But glad YOU like it.
— Michael Heppell (@MichaelHeppell) 1 September 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC New booking website is a massive step backwards. Clunky and ridiculously complicated to change journeys. 1/2
— Nathan (@titanicdays) 30 August 2017
Web support call hold times
Due to the issues caused by the introduction of the new site before it was ready and feature complete there has been some long wait times to get through to web support
@Virgin_TrainsEC 4hrs on the phone on hold trying to change ticket can you help?
— Peter Rossi (@parossi1980) 26 August 2017
— Andy Sharpe (@Andyjamess) 11 October 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC is anyone working on customer service today?! I’ve been on hold nearly 40 minutes
— Claire (@claireweatheril) 11 October 2017
— Stuart Keenan (@Stu_Keenan) 11 October 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC I was cut off after 1 hour 40 minutes on hold, I sent a dm on Facebook but have had no response?
— Becca D (@BeccaJD12) 10 October 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC currently on hold about a delay repay claim on both my landline and my mobile... over an hour... is there anyone there?
— Eleanor Legg (@eleanorlegg) 10 October 2017
If only they were as quick to answer as you! I have been cut off twice on hold 3 hours - I have submitted a formal complaint shocking!
— Andy Blackburn (@Andy1Blackburn) 10 October 2017
Was on hold to this number for about an hour without an answer.
— Vithushan (@Vitu_E) 9 October 2017
How long is the wait time please? An hour almost on hold is crazy, enough of my time was wasted yesterday
— Holly Williams (@HollySW19) 2 October 2017
You know what... I woke up this morning thinking I’d REALLY love to spend my Saturday on hold to Virgin customer service... pic.twitter.com/quUBRhSWDj
— Jacob Young (@jcbyoung) 23 September 2017
Have now had to take an unpaid day off work just to try and get through to an advisor as on hold for hours at a time!
— Rachel (@wsrelectrical) 20 September 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC Half an hour on hold & no answer. One of my bookings is not showing up on your newly migrated site, How can I arrange call?
— Susan McLellan (@Speedqueenie) 14 September 2017
Making things harder for cyclists was always going to go down well! The old booking engine, launched in 2007, had the ability to book cycle reservations from day one. We reported the lack of cycle reservations when the site was open for beta testing back in June, it was launched in August and this feature has yet to make an appearance.
— Louis M M Coiffait (@LouisMMCoiffait) 11 October 2017
@virgin_trainsEC Fun booking bike on train: Website says call number who say see guard who says go to ticket window who says see guard?
— Dan Robinson (@DanrLeeds) 4 October 2017
This sounds great! Please could you fix your website so that one can book bike spaces as was previously feasible?
— Fergus Kerr (@ferghorn) 26 September 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC Why is it so difficult to book a bike space? Can't book online, spent 30 mins on hold. Making travel difficult for cyclists
— Sarah Gandee (@GandeeSarah) 26 September 2017
Amazed at how booking a bicycle on @virgin_trainsec is now so much harder than it was just a few months ago
— Jâcques-Claudè (@musingsfromjack) 10 October 2017
But the ability to add a Bike reservation would come high up on my list! Appreciate the reply too by the way. Cheers for that
— Jack Merrell (@jack_merrell) 21 September 2017
How about restoring online bike bookings to your website? It is embarrassing that I can use other operator websites to do it
— Al (@Al__S) 20 September 2017
Indeed, doesn't stop me being mightily annoyed. I usually take a bike when I travel with you and you've made that harder
— Al (@Al__S) 20 September 2017
Just booked 11 journeys on new 'improved' website. You can't book your bike onto trains and it never remembers your seating preferences.
— Gavin Phillipson (@Prof_Phillipson) 16 September 2017
— TeeCee (@teeceegawnmaaad) 14 September 2017
— Sarah Nimmo (@SarahNimmo1) 13 September 2017
And they've also made it impossible to book a bike space online. Buy ticket first then call us. useless if you travel regularly!
— Andy Gordon (@Andy2wheels) 10 September 2017
— Andy Gordon (@Andy2wheels) 10 September 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC Having to give up using your ticketing site after recent 'improvements' as there is now no way of booking bike space
— Frances Thirlway (@fthirlway) 7 September 2017
@DavidHorne Really frustrating that I can't book my bike on trains to Leeds.When will this change?
— Clocktower Market (@clocktower_mkt) 7 September 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC have you taken away the ability to reserve a bike space on a train from your website? Why? It was so helpful.
— Ed Schroeder (@edlovespixels) 7 September 2017
— cyclistsinthecity (@citycyclists) 7 September 2017
I can change the seats on the return journey but not the outbound - and it's the outbound that matters!
— Cosmo Snowmew (@CosmoSnowmew) 3 September 2017
Why change your website when it ain’t broke @Virgin_TrainsEC? Tickets printed out in 1 name, not 2/seat changes not reflected! Can you help?
— Mari Hannah (@mariwriter) 4 September 2017
Thanks, I'll ring tomorrow. Shame website couldn't just say that and not waste my time and yours. Night night
— Val Burns (@valleriburns) 6 October 2017
Is there an alternative to @Virgin_TrainsEC website? Losing will to live. I swear it is messing up my bookings. Can’t change tickets online
— Mark Wilson (@PlanetWilson) 29 August 2017
@Virgin_TrainsEC The way your new website keeps hiding the advanced ticket options is a feat of cunning. Well played, guys. Well played.
— Darren Green (@ThePinkMongoose) 10 October 2017
This is a joke?The rollout of their current website is a joke.Functionality has gone backwards.Complete refusal to listen before and after.
— Nathan Phillips (@deerfold) 9 October 2017
This is virgins "goal" on their website. Hello, we’re Virgin Trains. We’re on a mission to make every second you spend with us awesome. #hmm
— Andy young (@andyyoung1874) 9 October 2017
Released a website with half the bloody functions missing. So incredibly pissed off. It has taken best part of 8 weeks to get to this stage.
— Mark Wilson (@PlanetWilson) 6 October 2017
The Tweets above are in no way a complete list of complaints and is just a sample. If you think we've missed any out that are worth including please get in touch with us on Twitter @SaveECRewards.