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Virgin launches new Alexa initiative to assist disabled passengers

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Virgin Trains is rolling out a new travel assistance service designed to make travelling with the company easier for disabled passegners.

The new service uses Alexa so users can book tickets and assistance using basic voice commands on Alexa-enabled devices, including the Amazon Echo.

JourneyCare has been trialled and the feature is now live for anyone requiring assisted travel.

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Normally customers who need to book JourneyCare complete a form online or call the helpline after booking.

The new technology means customers can book assisted travel immediately after purchasing tickets using simple voice commands.

Chris Tomson, who uses a wheelchair, took part in the initial testing of the Alexa skill.

He said: “Using JourneyCare on the Virgin Trains skill for Alexa is a fantastic asset. It does a great job of combining the two processes, making the whole experience much easier. It also comes in handy if I have any pain in my arms and I am unable to use a computer, phone or tablet to book my journey.”

The traditional system meant customers had to input the same information again to request JourneyCare after booking a ticket, but the Virgin Trains skill for Alexa will remember the details, so they do not have to repeat the process.

On average the new service takes two minutes, Virgin claims.

Stephen Brookes, Rail Sector Champion for the Minister for Disabled People, said: “By utilising Alexa in this way, Virgin Trains recognises the importance of disabled people as being a key part of rail industry business, because those who are comfortable with and can access technology will find the system quick and efficient.”

Toby Radcliffe, Customer Proposition Director, at Virgin Trains, said: “We are always looking at ways to improve the travelling experience for customers with disabilities and we are really pleased to be introducing this new update to our existing Alexa skill for customers needing to book extra assistance on their journey with us.”

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Joe Peskett

The author Joe Peskett

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