Passengers turn on Richard Branson after he rants about lateness

Passengers turn on Virgin boss Richard Branson after he rants about people turning up late

’30 per cent of the time I’m late is because of your trains’: Angry passengers turn on Virgin boss Richard Branson after he rants on Twitter that people turning up late is his pet hate

  • Richard Branson took to Twitter to emphasise the importance of punctuality 
  • He told his 12.4m followers that his pet hate in life is people turning up late 
  • But users of his rail service Virgin Trains were quick to blast him for hypocrisy 
  • One said: ‘30% of the times I’ve been late it’s been because of one of your trains’
  • Last year Mr Branson enjoyed a bumper £24m payout from his West Coast line 

Richard Branson has sparked an angry backlash among rail passengers after he ranted on Twitter about his pet hate – people turning up late.

Users were quick to respond to the billionaire entrepreneur whose Virgin Trains services appear to be a sore point among many commuters.

Taking to Twitter, Mr Branson shared a message emphasising the importance of punctuality to his 12.4 million followers – along with a picture of himself running to a meeting to hammer the point home.

Mr Branson shared a message emphasising the importance of punctuality to his 12.4 million followers along with a picture of himself running to meeting to hammer home the point

Users were quick to respond to Mr Branson, whose Virgin Trains service appears to be a sore point among many commuters

He wrote: ‘There’s very little that annoys me in life, but people turning up late really does. Punctuality shows organisation and respect for others.’

But customers who use his West Coast and East Coast service, which has routes between Glasgow and London Euston, poured scorn on the post, suggesting that his trains were the reason many had been late in the past.

Retweeting Mr Branson’s initial tweet, Rebecca Reid wrote: ‘About 30% of the times I’ve been late it’s been because of one of your trains mate.’ 


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But customers who use his service, which has routes between Edinburgh and London Euston, poured scorn on the post, suggesting that his trains were the reason many had been late in the past 

Another wrote: ‘Have you ever been on one of your b****** trains?’

While Laurence Turner wrote: ‘After East Coast was privitised by Virgin, punctuality fell from 82% to 73%.’

Seeing the funny side, one suggested jokingly that Mr Branson should consider running a national rail service, while another said ‘yup get the 12.45 to Milton Keynes fun every day.’ 

Seeing the funny side, one suggested jokingly that Mr Branson should consider running a national rail service, while another said ‘yup get the 12.45 to Milton Keynes fun every day.’

Along with the tweet he included a link to a blog post where he explained that he learned the importance of punctuality from his father. 

In the blog he added that punctuality: ‘Shows you are serious, and it shows you are organised. 

‘But, most importantly, it shows you are respectful of other people’s time and their value.’ 

Despite the criticism of Virgin Trains, Mr Branson’s service is far from the worst offender, according to Network Rail statistics

Figures from the Office of Road and Rail showed last year that Virgin’s East and West Coast franchises generated more complaints that any rivals.

Passengers criticised the company for its ‘Gestapo-like’ ticketing policy. 

Campaigners said travellers are forced to pay huge sums for a simple mistake when they have accidentally paid the wrong fare – something many blame on Virgin’s complicated pricing structure.

The operator has also been criticised for expensive fares, with a standard single ‘anytime’ ticket for the four-and-a-half-hour journey from London to Glasgow priced on its website last night at £182.50.

Despite the criticism of Virgin Trains, Mr Branson’s West Coast service is far from the worst offender, according to Network Rail statistics.

In the period between 2017/18, the service, of which he owns 51 per cent, had a public performance measure score of 90.8%.

The figures, which indicate the number of services that arrived within five minutes of their allocated times for short journeys and ten for longer ones, placed Virgin Trains West Coast above seven others including Great Western Railway and Greater Anglia. 

His service had an overall journey satisfaction score of 89% placing Virgin Trains West Coast sixth among 23 services nationally.

The East Coast service, now named London North Eastern Railway, languished behind with an 86% rating for 2017/18, and a damning score of 65% for 2018/19 so far. 

Last year it was reported that Mr Branson was set for a bumper £24million payout from West Coast after the line generated profits of £66.8million in the year to March.

MailOnline has contacted Virgin Rail for comment.

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