YEP Says: Put customers at the heart of our railway service

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IF VIRGIN Trains is so committed to improved customer service on the East Coast main line, why are there fears that up to 100 travel centre staff could lose their jobs? This state of affairs is at odds with the rail company’s statement that customers “are at the heart of every decision we make”.

Really? Try telling that to travellers who already face long queues at Leeds, Wakefield and Doncaster, three stations where jobs are said to be at risk, for tickets and travel advice because the ubiquitous self-service machines are not always programmed to sell the cheapest fares.

Yet it goes further than this as Virgin Trains comes under pressure to stop this misguided plan.

Like other rail franchises run by private operators, it continues to receive taxpayer-funded subsidies for running a public service.

If anything, there need to be more – not less – staff at stations to help both daily commuters and, specifically, the more occasional travellers who are not used to the complexities of current ticket arrangements.

Given that the two previous privately-run East Coast franchises hit the buffers on financial grounds, it can only be hoped that staff are not paying the price for Virgin Trains being over-ambitious with its forecasts.

It’s the last thing that this line needs after such a stop-start recent history.

Bernard Kenny, the man who risked his own life to try and save MP Jo Cox, has died.

YEP Says: Bernard Kenny, a real national hero