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Virgin Trains launch Earlybird Boarding text messaging service at London Euston

23 March 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Virgin Trains has introduced a new text messaging service that offers personalised, customer boarding information at London Euston station.

Virgin Trains launch Earlybird Boarding text messaging service at London Euston

The Earlybird Boarding text service has, according to Virgin Trains, been designed to ‘transform station waiting time into more relaxed leisure time’. The service will provide passengers with personalised and customised boarding information, without the need to search information screens whilst at the station.

The service will be available for people booking on the Virgin Trains website travelling from London Euston on all its services on the West Coast Mainline including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Virgin Trains Earlybird Boarding service available to West Coast Mainline passengers at London Euston

According to research carried out by Virgin Trains, better passenger boarding experience at London Euston is one of the most sought after improvements for rail users.

To address this, the operator has developed a system which sends a text message to customers containing platform and boarding information before it reaches the customer information system (CIS) screens, so they can enjoy the station facilities knowing they will be alerted when it’s time to board and make their way to the train ahead of the crowds.

“Our system will stagger boarding times on busier trains”

Commenting on the introduction, Paul Corney, Virgin Trains Customer Experience Project Manager for London Euston, said: “We’re delighted to be the first train operating company to offer this Earlybird Boarding system to our customers, transforming their waiting time into leisure time. Our system will stagger boarding times on busier trains so passengers who require more time to board or who are located in the furthest coach from the concourse are alerted first. This level of personalised service is in line with Virgin’s digital strategy – using smart technology to improve the overall customer experience.”

4 responses to “Virgin Trains launch Earlybird Boarding text messaging service at London Euston”

  1. Hannah says:

    This is great.. but for many of us travelling on business we have to book via a centralised contract, and therefore cannot benefit from this innovation as we aren’t allowed to book direct. This also will not help those who pay with body parts for their season tickets – they don’t get the luxury of a booked seat despite paying way into 5 figures every year for the privilege!

    We’ll still have to scrum down at the Euston Platform entrance waiting for the ticket check to gain access to the platform. At times of an evening its like a bun fight! I travel with Virgin several times a week (at £160 a time) so perhaps you could increase the numbers of staff checking tickets at the gates as well? Maybe even, shock horror, some more seats? Less first class empty carriages? Innovative it probably isn’t, but perhaps keeping it simple might just work too..

  2. A Dutch reader says:

    In somewhat less cynical terms I tend to agree with the previous comment. What good is it? Frankly I think it will only be helpful for trains with reserved seats. Then you can afford to arrive just in time. It is is not for the bread an butter trains daily commuters ride in. Despite such advanced solutions (for which problems, please remember me) you’re still in the midst of the throng or you are so late that you’ll find all seats occupied. Now Virgin, that is a service.
    This money, creativity and energy has better been spent on offering lower charges, a more transparent rail system, or (just imagine) enough seating capacity.

  3. A customer says:

    How much is this going to cost the customer in the long run on top of the annual extortionate price hikes?

    They will try to justify this by saying something like, we are commited to improving……investement….value added….

    Another useless exercise devised by National Rail and Virgin Think Tanks.

    What about those of us who do not have “Smart Phones”

    • Charles Gent says:

      Passengers frequently say they want operators to be proactive in giving them information. Whilst it would be good if they could also get signallers and control rooms to provide more timely information on the status of services, this is a positive move. It says it will be text based, so no need for a smart phone and provided it doesn’t become the only method of finding out where your train is, I think it should be welcomed.

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