Latest train travel information to be sent via WhatsApp as work continues by National Rail to encourage people back to the railways
Train passengers can now get personalised journey information sent directly to their mobile phones via WhatsApp in a new ground-breaking service.
National Rail has launched Alert Me by WhatsApp for all UK rail passengers to generate real time information for travellers before they head to the station.
It is hoped that by delivering personalised journey information, directly through the channels and apps people use the most, it will both support and encourage passengers to use the trains as they return to both work and education after the summer holidays.
Updates will include the latest information about delays, potential or planned disruption and alternative travel routes as well as some details about how busy services and carriages are likely to be based on forecast demand data.
Train passengers can sign themselves up to the new service by mapping out their journey using the National Rail Enquiries website, and then clicking on the 'Keep me updated by WhatsApp' option.
What's more - anyone using the Alert Me service between now and October can also opt-in to receive rewards such as free coffees, from train station retailers, as part of a retail pilot to reward customers for travelling by train or taking an alternative service if their chosen train is predicted to be busy.
Rail bosses say "optimistic" predictions suggest passenger numbers could return to around 80% of pre-pandemic levels, as the return to the office continues for many in the coming weeks and months.
Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the company that manages National Rail on behalf of the rail industry, said: “As people working from home begin commuting to their place of work again, we want to ensure they’re able to travel with confidence, which is why we are providing passengers access to personalised journey information via the channels they use the most.
"Customers who use the National Rail Alert Me service and travel frequently, or decide to take a less busy train if their chosen service is predicted to be busy, could get themselves a free drink or snack as part of a Retail Pilot that we're exploring as one of the ways to incentivise people back to rail.”