New Virgin Train apps

New Virgin Trains app to help passengers when services are cancelled

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Virgin Trains has developed a new app to help passengers during disruption, claiming the innovation will give customers and staff more accurate information when services are delayed and cancelled.

The Back on Track app connects its teams on the front line with its control centre, which is a global first for a transport company, according to the rail firm.

Photo: Virgin Trains / PA Wire

Staff can now give passengers up-to-the-minute details such as the best alternative routes and ticket acceptance by other companies.

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Virgin Trains estimates the technology could cut the time it takes to resolve incidents by at least 20 minutes, due to a reduction in front line staff needing to telephone the control centre to find out what is happening.

A major Transport Focus survey conducted between September and November last year found that fewer than three out of four (74%) passengers across all operators were satisfied with the provision of information during their last journey.

Virgin Trains chief information officer John Sullivan said: “Our main problem at times of disruption is simple: thousands of Virgin Trains colleagues trying to find out the latest information to communicate to as many as 100,000 customers.

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“Our control centre can get 1,000 calls a day from staff across the network during disruption. If the information they need is instantly available on their mobile, there’s no need to make that call, freeing up control to deal with the root cause.

“By getting the most up-to-date information to all our colleagues we ensure that they know what the latest plan is.

“Less time on the phone means they can spend more time helping customers face to face, and they can feed information about the situation on the ground back to control via the app.”

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Virgin Trains is using the same data to power another online tool named Track ‘n’ Travel, which customers can use to review the progress of their journeys in real time.

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Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...