Rail passengers can get Facebook alerts about delayed trains
The six-month trial has been launched by the rail industry to keep customers better informed during disruption.
Passengers can sign up to receive updates on Facebook’s Messenger service for regular commutes and one-off journeys.
They will be sent tailored information including details of alternative trains if the services they intend to travel on are delayed or cancelled.
National Rail, which handles journey planning inquiries, is launching the tool to give passengers the most up-to-date information “without the need for scrolling through endless news feeds on Twitter”.
The transport firm cited research showing people want to feel “more in control” of their journeys so they can make “informed choices”.
About one in seven (14 per cent) trains failed to meet the industry’s punctuality target in the 12 months to 10 November.
Fewer than three out of four passengers (73 per cent) were satisfied with the provision of information on trains in the latest major survey by watchdog Transport Focus.
Crispin Humm of National Rail said: “We are committed to putting our customers at the heart of everything we do, which is why we’re investing to deliver new technology that will allow us to provide a more tailored service, keeping our customers informed during times of disruption.
“This new tool will provide customers with useful and relevant information so that they will feel in control of their journeys.”
Part of the system was created by transport technology company Zipabout.
The firm’s head of product Alex Froom said: “For years, Twitter has been the main source of information for those looking for minute-by-minute information on travel news.
“Whilst Twitter is a great information tool, people don’t want to scroll endlessly through news feeds to find out about delays to journeys that may not be relevant to them.
“By harnessing this new technology, National Rail will be able to get bespoke, accurate information to customers.”