New rail alert service offers rewards


Rail passengers can now access customised real-time travel information for their journeys through WhatsApp.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said the launch of ‘Alert me by WhatsApp’ by National Rail Enquiries marks a step-change in passenger communications by delivering personalised journey information directly through the channels people use the most.

Rail passengers can opt-in to receive personalised journey information generated using 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.

Those using the Alert Me service between now and October can opt-in to receive rewards such as a free cup of coffee from train station retailers such as Upper Crust during their journey, as part of a retail pilot that rewards customers for travelling by train or taking an alternative service if their chosen train is predicted to be busy.

The RDG said Alert Me by Whatsapp is just one of a number of measures the industry has implemented to support passengers as they return to work and education after the summer holidays.

Chief executive Jacqueline Starr 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.'

Dan Lenan, director of partnerships at WhatsApp, said: ‘WhatsApp is already used by millions of people around the world to connect with businesses, to ask questions and order a product or service.

‘This partnership truly leverages the power of messaging on WhatsApp to connect consumers to their specific journey. The service makes great use of the features available to businesses on the WhatsApp API, and is a great example of the potential of messaging via an automated 1:1 channel.’

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