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Author Topic: Virgin vs Chiltern (and vice versa) advertising (merged topics)  (Read 31717 times)
Btline
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« Reply #45 on: February 11, 2014, 07:47:01 pm »

Did the Dft set Chiltern's timetable?

I'm sure the Dft, daft as they are, wouldn't prevent FGW (First Great Western) removing the 20 minutes of padding that there is on Cotswold services!
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Timmer
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« Reply #46 on: February 11, 2014, 07:52:17 pm »

I'm sure the Dft, daft as they are, wouldn't prevent FGW (First Great Western) removing the 20 minutes of padding that there is on Cotswold services!
Guess that would depend on whether removing the padding would affect FGW's performance figures  Wink
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SDS
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« Reply #47 on: February 11, 2014, 10:24:41 pm »

Did the Dft set Chiltern's timetable?

I'm sure the Dft, daft as they are, wouldn't prevent FGW (First Great Western) removing the 20 minutes of padding that there is on Cotswold services!

Yes and they got fined c.^500k for amending it in 2011 [to allow WS&MR (Midland Railway) paths].

Here's two choices for me with a walk up fare (Priv rate SOR) from London ANY to Birmingham ANY.

^41.00 with VIRGIN WEST COAST
or
^23.75 with CHILTERN RAILWAYS

I would clearly use CH with these prices and the free wi-fi is also attractive.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 10:36:23 pm by SDS pad » Logged

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Network SouthEast
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« Reply #48 on: February 12, 2014, 12:34:53 pm »

Did the Dft set Chiltern's timetable?

I'm sure the Dft, daft as they are, wouldn't prevent FGW (First Great Western) removing the 20 minutes of padding that there is on Cotswold services!

Yes and they got fined c.^500k for amending it in 2011 [to allow WS&MR (Midland Railway) paths].
Correct.

Originally fined ^500,000, but then later reduced by the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) to ^350,000 following a backlash.
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BandHcommuter
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« Reply #49 on: February 12, 2014, 01:02:08 pm »

Did the Dft set Chiltern's timetable?

DfT» (Department for Transport - about) specify Chiltern's "Passenger Service Requirement" (PSR (Permanent Speed Restriction)). It can be found in schedule 3 of their franchise agreement:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/43237/RED_Chiltern_Franchise_Agreement.pdf. This specifies criteria such as frequencies, first and last trains etc. The timetable itself is developed by the train company in conjunction with Network Rail to meet (or exceed) this requirement. I understand that Chiltern got into hot water previously because they were using WSMR (Wrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway) (an open access operator) to cover some of their franchise PSR obligations. In other franchises PSRs are termed SLCs (Service Level Commitment) (Service Level Commitments) and TSRs (Temporary Speed Restriction) (Train Service Requirements) but the principle is similar.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #50 on: February 12, 2014, 02:02:08 pm »

Yup - if it hadn't been PSR (Permanent Speed Restriction) obligations, they might well have got away with that.
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Btline
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« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2014, 08:05:54 pm »

Why on earth did they get fined? As far as I remember, Wrexham and Shropshire didn't call at Chiltern stations, and ran "fast".

Typical of DFT (Department for Transport) to fine Chiltern Railways, by far the best and most innovative TOC (Train Operating Company) since 1997.
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Southern Stag
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« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2014, 08:56:57 pm »

At first Wrexham & Shropshire ran fast along the Chiltern route but it later days they started making calls along the route, which was when Chiltern got fined by the DfT» (Department for Transport - about).
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« Reply #53 on: March 26, 2014, 09:29:30 pm »

http://asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2014/3/Chiltern-Railways-Company-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_242147.aspx

So it seems that Virgin crying to the ASA over Chilterns recent advertising didn't work.

Quote
Ad
Two ads for Chiltern Trains:

a. A press ad that wrapped around the front and back pages of a newspaper stated "Don't be held to Branson. Anytime Return to London - Virgin: ^158, Chiltern: ^95" and "Travel to London for 40% less. Book today" on the front page. Further text included "Try Mainline today ^ spacious carriages and more tables" and "Chiltern Mainline is more punctual than Virgin Trains".

b. A leaflet distributed at an airport included text that stated "YOUR BETTER WAY TO LONDON. BUT DON'T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT" and pictured speech bubbles below that featured text including "Chiltern Mainline is more punctual than Virgin Trains". Further text stated "WARWICK PARKWAY TO LONDON MARYLEBONE FROM ^6 ONE WAY ^ spacious carriages and more tables ^ Virgin Anytime ^158, Chiltern Anytime ^95**". Small print stated "**^95 'Anytime Return' fare applies on Chiltern Mainline trains from Warwick Parkway to London Marylebone, ^158 fare applies on Virgin Trains from Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International to London Euston".

Issue
Virgin Trains challenged whether:

1. the claim "Chiltern Mainline is more punctual than Virgin Trains" in ads (a) and (b) was misleading, because it compared their overall punctuality statistics rather than the specific journey being promoted in the ad; and

2. the claim "spacious carriages and more tables" in ads (a) and (b) was misleading, because they believed Chiltern Trains has fewer tables in its longest train than Virgin has in its Pendolino train.

CAP Code (Edition 12)
3.13.33.333.73.9
Response
1. Chiltern Railways Company Ltd t/a Chiltern Trains said they had based the claim on the most accurate punctuality statistics available; the right-time punctuality statistics published by Network Rail, which were publically available. They provided a copy of the statistics. They said this was the most reliable data as it showed the exact 'right-time' punctuality. They said the only other data set available was the Public Performance Measure, which was used by the government and involved different definitions of punctuality being applied to different operators. In the case of Chiltern Trains 'punctual' was defined as no more than five minutes late, whereas for Virgin Trains 'punctual' was defined as no more than ten minutes late. They said the right-time data was therefore a better comparator as it was based on the exact time a train was due to arrive and was therefore comparing the same thing for both operators. They said that the right-time data was only published for operators overall, and was not broken down into individual routes. Neither Network Rail nor Virgin Trains published right-time performance data by route and so they were only able to make an overall comparison. They said the claim did not state that it was route specific and they did not believe it implied that was the case. The right-time statistics for 12 October 2013 showed Chiltern Trains had 87.9% punctuality over the past 12 months and Virgin Trains had 48% punctuality. They said they used the right-time data as it was the most accurate, but that Public Performance Measure statistics were available on a route-level basis and also supported their claim. They provided the data for the routes in question. They said that even though the definition of punctuality applied to them was stricter than Virgin Trains', they had higher percentage punctuality than Virgin over the past 12 months.

2. Chiltern Trains said the claim was based on the fact that passengers on their trains had a higher chance of getting a table than those travelling on a Virgin train. They said they used two types of trains on their Chiltern Mainline services. In standard class on their 'silver' train there were tables at 80% of seats, and their 'clubman' trains had tables at 52% of seats. They said that Virgin trains had tables at 35% of seats in standard class. They supplied seating diagrams of the three train types in question. They said they believed that consumers were only interested in the chances of their own seat having a table, and the fact that Virgin Trains had more seats overall, because they had more carriages, was not relevant.

Assessment
1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that because the claim "Chiltern Mainline is more punctual than Virgin Trains" specifically referred to the Chiltern Mainline route, rather than Chiltern railways in general, consumers would expect the claim to be based on punctuality statistics for their Mainline route. Although we understood that Chiltern Trains had intended the claim to be based on the right-time punctuality statistics published by Network Rail, which were not broken down by route, route specific Public Performance Measure punctuality data was available. This data showed that over the past 12 months Chiltern Trains' Mainline route had punctuality of 95.5%, compared to 84.9% punctuality of Virgin Trains' London to West Midlands route. We noted that the measure of 'punctuality' in this data was not identical, but that the criterion of punctuality for Chiltern Trains was more stringent than that for Virgin Trains. We therefore concluded that the claim "Chiltern Mainline is more punctual than Virgin Trains" had been substantiated and was not misleading.

On this point we investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors) but did not find them in breach.

2. Not upheld

We acknowledged that Virgin's trains had a greater number of tables overall, because of their greater number of carriages. However, we considered that consumers would understand the claim as a reference to the percentage of seats that had tables, as it was this that would determine their individual chance of obtaining a seat with a table rather than the overall number of tables. Chiltern Trains had demonstrated that a greater percentage of seats on their trains had tables than on Virgin's trains. We therefore concluded that the claim "spacious carriages and more tables" had been substantiated and was not misleading.

On this point we investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors), but did not find them in breach.

Action
No further action necessary.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #54 on: March 26, 2014, 10:18:33 pm »

Chiltern's latest dig at Virgin Trains at Birmingham Moor St:



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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #55 on: March 26, 2014, 10:55:08 pm »

Quote
1. Chiltern Railways Company Ltd t/a Chiltern Trains

And these guys are the arbiters of accuracy...?
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Brucey
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« Reply #56 on: March 27, 2014, 06:59:21 am »

Quote
1. Chiltern Railways Company Ltd t/a Chiltern Trains

And these guys are the arbiters of accuracy...?
The logo on the side of trains and on the top of the website says Chiltern Railways.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #57 on: March 27, 2014, 04:47:04 pm »

Yep, exactly. It should be "The Chiltern Railway Company Ltd t/a [trading as] Chiltern Railways".

The ASA appear to think it's "Chiltern Railways Company Ltd t/a Chiltern Trains". They've got the company name wrong twice (by missing the "The", and using "Railways" instead of "Railway") and the trading name is wrong too. Pedantic maybe, but an organisation charged with ensuring accuracy should really do better.
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