The UK’s National Rail has introduced a new passenger communication service, Alert Me by WhatsApp service, for all rail commuters.

National Rail is managed by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

Commuters will now be able to receive personalised real-time journey information through WhatsApp.

The service utilises AI and prediction technology developed by Zipabout for generating customised journey updates.

Rail information will include real-time details of delays, disruption, and alternative travel routes.

To use this service, passengers will have to click on the ‘Keep me updated by WhatsApp’ option displayed on the National Rail Enquiries website.

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During the Covid-19 pandemic, National Rail has delivered almost three million personalised travel updates to commuters under its Safer Travel Pledge.

Commuters can opt-in to receive free coffees and newspapers as part of a retail pilot that awards customers for travelling by train.

RDG chief executive Jacqueline Starr said: “As people working from home begin commuting to their place of work again, we want to ensure they’re able to travel with confidence, which is why we are providing passengers access to personalised journey information via the channels they use the most.

“Customers who use the National Rail Alert Me service and travel frequently, or decide to take a less busy train if their chosen service is predicted to be busy, could get themselves a free drink or snack as part of a retail pilot that we’re exploring as one of the ways to incentivise people back to rail.”

The country’s rail industry has introduced several measures to support commuters as they return to work and education after the summer holidays.

As part of the Safer Travel Pledge, the industry also launched the Flexi Season ticket and carried out additional cleaning and ventilation on trains.

In May this year, UK-based tech firm Transreport, in association with RDG and the wider rail industry, developed a new app to offer support to disabled commuters for their rail journeys.