Avanti West Coast ordered to give passengers more notice to book tickets

Train operator Avanti West Coast has been ordered to stop releasing tickets just a few days ahead of travel. Rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has warned

the company it must submit an improved recovery plan for producing timetables by February 2 or face “formal measures”. Avanti West Coast runs trains on the West Coast Main

Line between London Euston and Glasgow Central with branches to Birmingham, North Wales, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh. By 2 February we expect Avanti to identify what

has gone wrong and set out how it intends to get back to releasing timetables in normal industry timescalesStephanie Tobyn, ORR Passengers wanting to book tickets for

weekend travel this month have only been able to purchase tickets a few days in advance, leading to claims that many people are being denied cheaper tickets. Weekday tickets

have also been released far later than the 12-week booking window normally used by operators. Avanti West Coast initially made “reasonable progress” against an improvement

plan created in September 2022 with passengers given more notice to book travel in the run-up to Christmas but the “position has deteriorated” this year, according to the

ORR. Current plans for February show a “better picture for weekday travel, but still fall short of passengers’ needs for weekend journeys”, the regulator

stated. Stephanie Tobyn, director of strategy, policy and reform at the ORR, said: “Passengers are rightly frustrated that this situation has deteriorated so quickly after a

steady start to the recovery plan late last year.