Planned updates include messaging capability, baggage tracking and real time travel data. Additionally, features which will enable independent navigation for the visually impaired, are planned for the future. These 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”.
Virgin Trains’ Explorer app, powered by the Pointr indoor location software, is free for IOS and Android users to download, and launches initially at King’s Cross before rolling out to all stations on the east coast route later this year. The rail operator plans to use the initial roll out to gather customer feedback on the app, with further plans to integrate feedback into future updates.
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.”
Virgin Trains on the east coast is committed to investing one per cent of its revenue in developing ‘new to UK rail’ innovation. It’s the first train company to set up an Innovation Fund and team, and the Explorer App is one of its first products.
About Virgin Trains:
Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the East Coast and West Coast inter-city routes under the Virgin Trains brand. Together, they are on track to revolutionise rail travel across the UK.
The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.
Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.
On the East Coast route, £140m is being invested to create a more personalised travel experience. We have already invested £21m to completely revamp our existing fleet and customers can now benefit from 42 additional services (22,000 extra seats) per week between Edinburgh and London. 2018 will see the introduction of completely new Azuma trains being built in the UK by Hitachi.
The West Coast route has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.
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