UK National Rail launches new WhatsApp travel service

UK rail passengers returning after the summer holidays can now access customised real-time travel information for their journeys through WhatsApp. uk rail whatsapp

The launch of ‘Alert me by WhatsApp’ by National Rail Enquiries marks a change in passenger communications by delivering personalised journey information directly through the channels people use the most.

Rail passengers can now opt-in to receive personalised journey information generated using revolutionary AI-based data technology developed by British company Zipabout and sent proactively via WhatsApp.

Updates include real-time details of delays, disruption and alternative travel routes.

Rail passengers can access the new service by planning their journey using the National Rail Enquiries website and clicking ‘Keep me updated by WhatsApp’.

National Rail has sent almost 3 million personalised journey updates to passengers as part of its safer travel pledge during the pandemic.

The updates include busyness alerts that are based on unique forecast demand data, disruption information and alternative travel routes.

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.”

How to get a free coffee, newspaper or snack when you sign-up for alerts uk rail whatsapp

Anyone who signs up to the ‘Alert Me’ WhatsApp service between now and the end of this month (30 September) can also opt-in to receive rewards, such as a free cup of coffee, from select retailers at participating train stations. This is part of a pilot that will last until the end of the month that’s aimed to incentivise people back to using trains.

But there’s no guarantee that just because you’re travelling to and from participating stations (see the full list below) that you’ll be sent an e-voucher for a freebie – National Rail says these rewards will be sent at random.

If you do get lucky, you’ll receive an e-voucher via a QR code that will give you up to one hour to redeem a free drink, snack or newspaper at one of the participating retailers, including Camden Food Co, Upper Crust, Whistlestop, and WHSmith. All you need to do is show the QR code at checkout.

You can receive a maximum of one freebie every six hours but which freebie you’ll get – whether it’s a drink, snack or newspaper – will vary depending on the retailer and the station. You’ll receive a WhatsApp message detailing what the freebie is and where you can get it from. uk rail whatsapp

The scheme is taking place across the following 14 train stations:

  • Birmingham New Street
  • Glasgow Central
  • Havant
  • London Bridge
  • London Euston
  • London Liverpool Street
  • London Paddington
  • London Victoria
  • London Waterloo
  • Manchester Piccadilly
  • Preston
  • Reading
  • Swindon
  • Wigan Northwestern

 

 

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