A quick google search shows that I am not the only one with complaints to make about Virgin Trains as an article written just two days ago in The Daily Express clearly illustrates.
Being the third time that I have come to blows with Virgin Train staff over the simple matter of wanting to travel with my bicycle I have finally decided to put pen to paper and make a formal complaint.
Now I understand that when there are only four bicycle places on a train (don’t even get me started on how ridiculous this is when there are always at least three completely empty first class coaches) there is some need for a reservation system to give priority to those who have booked. Fine. But to stop two bikes getting on an empty bike carriage on a direct service with no other stops is just ludicrous!
After being told on the platform by a rude Virgin ticket attendant not to get on the train and instead – to remain stranded in the rain 100 miles from home? I put our two bikes on the train anyway, sat down and the next thing I know the attendant on the platform had instructed the train manager to evict us from the carriage and so it unfolded:
Train Manager “did you just put your bikes on the train”
Train Manager “If you haven’t got a reservation then you have to get off the train”
Me “but there are no other bikes on this train and its now a direct service to London”
Train Manager “but how did you know there are any other bikes there! What would you have done if there were?!”
Me “If there were I wouldn’t have got on the train, there aren’t and there won’t be. I am not getting off this train.”
Train Manager admits defeat, other passengers offer solemn smiles showing their support. I sit back down feeling shaky but pleased at my tiny victory.
If Virgin Trains really “firmly believe that rail has a clear role to play in sustainable transport, and want to lead the charge.” then I suggest they modernise their staffs views and their trains, to make room for more bikes.