A new Trainline app feature helps commuters flag busy trains to each other - here's how it works

Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 3:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 3:38 pm
So far, customers have said that it was possible to social distance on 90 per cent of trains (Photo: Shutterstock)

Trainline has launched a nationwide beta-test of Crowd Alerts - a crowdsourced feature in its app to help customers alert their fellow travellers if it’s not possible to social distance on a specific train.

The feature is available for all Trainline app users from 2 July. It’s designed to enable the Trainline customer community to alert one another if certain parts of a train (front, middle and back) are too busy for social distancing.

Data from a trial of the feature - which has been running in Trainline’s app for the last two weeks on Northern journeys only - shows that during this period, customers shared feedback that it was possible to social distance on 90 per cent of trains.

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How does it work?

Crowd Alerts works when customers tap the ‘live tracker’ button for an upcoming journey in Trainline’s app. A pop-up message asks the customer to confirm whether social distancing is possible on their train by clicking a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ button.

If the customer clicks ‘thumbs down’ they will be asked to share whether they are in the front, middle or back of the train.

If a customer shares feedback to say social distancing isn’t possible, a bubble will be displayed for all customers searching this journey in Trainline’s app.

An orange bubble means customers have reported the whole train as busy, a blue bubble means customers have reported one section of the train (front, middle or back) as busy. The number in the bubble shows how many customers have shared this feedback.

As more people start to travel by train and use Crowd Alerts, Trainline can make the anonymised crowdsourced data available to the rail industry to help train operators identify parts of the network that customers are reporting as busy.

Commenting on the new feature, Chief Technology Officer at Trainline, Mark Holt, said, “Helping customers safely take the train is our number one priority and we always strive to give them as much live journey information as possible. Crowd Alerts empowers our customers to share in-the-moment, on-the-ground feedback to help the wider Trainline community.

“We encourage customers to follow government guidelines when travelling and use digital tickets on their phone wherever possible, instead of queuing in stations or touching ticket machines, to help make sure that contact with others while travelling is limited.”

How to get the app

The Crowd Alerts beta-test is available for Trainline app customers using both iOS and Android devices.