Please see the below update Kevan has received from LNER:
Train travel remains a vital public service for key workers and those for whom travel is essential.
Further to our update last week, in response to Government advice against non-essential travel, lower customer demand and fewer colleagues available to work, we have temporarily reduced the train services we operate during the week and at weekends.
We have previously shared a special, temporary weekday timetable which has been in place this week. A revised weekend timetable will now be in place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th March 2020. From Monday 30th March 2020, LNER is making additional changes that will see the us running around 40 per cent of our usual weekday services. While information about services can be found on LNER.co.uk, if you would like detail of these changes please let us know.
These temporary timetables see LNER continue to run services throughout the day, serving our core routes and key interchange stations, enabling customers to connect between intercity and local services run by other operators.
Within these changes, we wanted to highlight that we are currently not operating any services north of Edinburgh. This is a result of the hotel accommodation that our colleagues usually rely upon in Aberdeen and Inverness not currently being available, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
This is a fast-moving situation, and we are working to ensure there is room on all our services to enable our customers and colleagues to travel safely by practising social distancing. As a result, all LNER services are subject to change. Anyone undertaking essential journeys should check the LNER Journey Planner before travelling.
Whilst we usually love having people onboard our trains, if someone’s travel is not essential, or they’re not classed as a key worker, then we ask that they please follow government guidance and stay at home. If travel is essential, then we are asking travellers to practice social distancing during their journey, keeping at least one seat apart from fellow passengers.
Supporting #StayHomeSaveLives: To support the UK Government’s response to COVID-19 and to reduce the burden on the NHS, we are using our social media channels to boost the #StayHomeSaveLives message. We would welcome any support you and your organisation can provide to boost our posts on Twitter and Facebook, asking that any journeys be limited to essential travel only. In case the embedded links do not work for you, our channels can be found at:
Changes to station facilities and telephone lines
As mentioned in our last update, onboard catering has been temporarily removed from our trains and our First Class lounges have been temporarily closed. These measures are designed to protect our customers and our people.
Unfortunately, due to the current situation and to ensure our colleagues are kept safe and well, we have taken the difficult decision to close our call centre, station Travel Centres and waiting areas, although our approach to waiting areas will be reviewed in the event of bad weather.
Customers can contact us through:
- Our Social channels, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
- Live Chat between the hours of 09:00-17:00 on our Help and support page
- Email at [email protected]
Our teams are working hard in the background to ensure we answer queries as quickly as we can, but please be aware that our response times could be longer than usual.
We will still have LNER staff at stations to provide support to key workers and those making essential journeys however, for their safety, we ask travellers to practise social distancing wherever possible.
Key workers or those for whom travel is essential who would usually book assistance can still do so. More information is available at: https://www.lner.co.uk/the-east-coast-experience/travel-tips/assisted-travel/
Refunds, cancellations, and change of travel plans
In line with all other train operating companies, we are making it as easy as possible for customers to rearrange travel plans or to get a refund. More detail on what this means for different ticket types can be found on the LNER website.
Due to reductions in train services running across the country, we have taken the decision alongside other train operators to introduce mutual ticket acceptance until further notice. This will enable key workers and others for whom travel is essential to complete their journeys as easily as possible.
Supporting our local suppliers
LNER values the services provided by our suppliers and we are aware of the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Due to these circumstances, we are reviewing any extra measures we can take to further support our partners and contractors at this time.
One such supplier is Tiffin’s of Bradford which provides us with our onboard selection of fresh sandwiches. With the current reduction in our onboard service, the fall in orders risks having a real financial impact on their business.
Working together, we have formed a partnership with FareShare, a charity dedicated to fighting hunger. FareShare supports almost 11,000 frontline charities and community groups across the UK, including school breakfast clubs, older people’s lunch clubs, homeless shelters, and community cafes. Starting Monday 30 March, LNER will cover the cost of 5,000 sandwiches to be delivered weekly by Tiffin to FareShare’s Leeds depot, to be distributed to those most in need across their network.
We plan to provide you with further updates on this going forward. If you become aware of further challenges faced by any of our suppliers in your area, please do let us know.
If you have any questions about LNER’s response to COVID-19, please let us know. Questions relating to tickets and personal travel should continue to be directed to our Customer Service Team.
Head Of Stakeholder Engagement