Virgin Trains launch Explorer app for in-station navigation
1 November 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
Virgin Trains has launched an in-station navigation app for customers on its east coast route – a global first for the rail industry.
The Explorer app aims to help customers on Virgin Trains’ east coast route navigate their way around stations to locate friends, shops and platforms. The app also enables real time automatic sign translation for international customers.
In-station navigation app to aid visually impaired passengers
The operating company also plans to integrate messaging capability, baggage tracking and real time travel data into the app as well as services that will aid independent navigation for visually impaired travellers. These features will include audio cues guiding customers around the station, routing through optimum paths (e.g. lifts versus stairs), and location-based notifications, such as “you are on the right train”.
Explorer in-station navigation app, powered by the Pointr indoor location software, launches initially at King’s Cross before rolling out to all stations on the east coast route later this year. The app is free for IOS and Android users.
“By offering an easy and accessible way to navigate stations we hope that our customers can enjoy all that stations have to offer”
Commenting on the launch, David Horne, Managing Director at Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “The launch of Virgin Trains’ Explorer app is another step forward in our mission to improve every element of our customers’ journeys. By offering an easy and accessible way to navigate stations we hope that our customers can enjoy all that stations have to offer. We are proud to be the first in the rail industry to bring this innovation to our customers and are excited about the potential future uses of the technology to further enhance our customers’ experiences.”
Axel Katalan, Chief Marketing Officer at Pointr, added: “In five years’ time, indoor navigation will be a common expectation. Much like every car that rolls off the production line comes with sat nav as standard, shopping malls, workspaces, stations, sports stadiums and airports will be expected to seamlessly enable their visitors to experience and discover their space through indoor navigation. We can make that happen. Working with Virgin Trains at King’s Cross is how we hope to bring this innovation to the rail industry.”
Virgin Trains will use the initial roll out to gather customer response on the app, with further plans to integrate feedback into future updates.