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Screenshot of disruption messaging on Journey Alerts

Journey Alerts to give free WhatsApp access to operators

Transport operators can now access WhatsApp and Messenger for free to communicate with passengers, thanks to launch of new service Journey Alerts.
July 26, 2023

Any transport operator can now use WhatsApp and Messenger for free to communicate directly with passengers, thanks to the launch of a new service - Journey Alerts. In a first-of-a-kind model for transport, Journey Alerts offers all operators free use of the global messaging channels to send real-time journey information and incentives to passengers, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty. Journey Alerts technology is already being used by rail operators including East Midlands Railway, South Western Railway, c2c and LNER, and ferry operator P&O.

The launch of Journey Alerts by media company Zipabout comes months after National Rail Enquiries terminated its popular ‘Alert Me’ information service, leaving rail passengers unable to use WhatsApp and Messenger to access journey updates. Zipabout had been sending two million messages each month to keep passengers in the loop before the termination of ‘Alert Me’ in June. Passengers using National Rail Enquiries are currently only able to access real-time information by making a phone call, requesting an SMS or scrolling Twitter.

Journey Alerts has been developed using input from the Department for Transport, rail operators and local authorities, and is being delivered in a free model thanks to Zipabout’s strong partnership with Meta. The service can stand alone or integrate into other channels, including operator Apps, to open a two-way conversation with customers, supercharge existing operator customer experience programmes and free up customer service teams.

Using a simple QR code or link to opt in, Journey Alerts gives passengers real-time information tailored to their individual journey on the messaging channels they already use. The service can also send personalised loyalty rewards and retail offers from well-known brands, at absolutely no cost to the operator. Other features, fully aligned with rail operator priorities set by the Department for Transport, include:

  • Push notifications of delays, platform changes, Delay Repay and service busyness.
  • Door-to-door multi-modal journey planning, including live service information, routing around disruption and last mile integration with micromobility services.
  • Safety tools, such as sharing progress updates with a loved one, avoiding unmanned stations or travelling at night.
Hollye Kirkcaldy, Chief Commercial Officer at Zipabout, said: “Having to make a phone call or scroll through Twitter just to get real-time updates on your journey is outdated and infuriating for passengers already struggling with the disruption caused by strike action this summer. Journey Alerts puts the right information directly into the hands of the passenger when they need it, without using yet another app or frustrating chatbot. It’s a service for forward-thinking transport operators who can see the financial benefits of satisfied customers at a time when passenger dissatisfaction with rail services is high, and thanks to our relationship with Meta, we’re delighted to be able to offer the technology for free.”