Let me start by again thanking all our customers for their patience during these times. I must also pay tribute to our wonderful people for their work under such difficult conditions. Their commitment and response to the way circumstances have been constantly evolving during the pandemic has been fantastic to see, and as ambassadors for Avanti they have been outstanding and a great source of pride to us all. Thank you everyone.
As we gradually increase services in line with the Government’s easing of lockdown measures, we are encouraging customers to travel during quieter periods if they can. Currently, our busiest times are between 9.30am and 1pm, and 4pm and 6pm. To help you understand when services are becoming too busy, we’ll highlight popular trains when you book on our website https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/. Please take this into account and choose a quieter service where possible. To help manage social distancing onboard we’ve reduced the seating capacity on our trains, so we also recommend you book your tickets in advance, making sure to reserve a space on your preferred service. Otherwise, we can’t guarantee you’ll be able to board.
In addition, we are stepping up efforts to ensure customers know face coverings on public transport in England became mandatory on 15th June. We strongly recommend the use of face coverings across all other parts of our route. To reinforce this message, we have wrapped the nose of two Pendolinos with a yellow face covering, along with a message on the side saying: ‘Safe Travels. Wear a face covering.’ We understand, of course, that some people may not be able to wear a face covering, for example children under 11, people with breathing difficulties and people whose disabilities make it difficult for them to wear a face covering. We are also briefing our people that they can temporarily remove their face covering in order to communicate more effectively with customers who have a hearing impairment.
To further protect customers and our people we are currently trialling a surface sanitiser onboard our trains as part of an enhanced cleaning regime. The powerful disinfectant, known as Zoono Z-71, is sprayed inside carriages and is designed to provide long lasting anti-viral protection, with reapplication only needed every 28 days.
Throughout all this, the whole team has maintained focus on the future and the delivery of the exciting new plans for Avanti West Coast customers. Many of our projects have been progressing well, but naturally some will meet with slight delays caused by the impact of Covid-19, for example, the Pendolino refurbishment project. Details of this are set out further down this newsletter. Be assured, however, that our focus remains firmly on moving the business forward and ensuring that Avanti West Coast delivers the market leading services, products and innovations that our customers quite rightly expect.