For around five years we’ve been informing customers about travel disruption through our @TfLTravelAlerts account. It’s one of our most popular and together with our Tube and rail accounts, we manage over 30,000 interactions every month, including questions about weekend planned works and changes due to events such as marathons and festivals.

We’re continuously looking for ways to improve the information we provide through the Travel Alerts account, and this year we’ve focused on providing ahead-of-time travel advice and major disruptions to help customers plan ahead.

In partnership with Twitter, we looked at the most popular questions our followers ask us and developed ideas which could help customers proactively, and in a way that will be as useful and easy to digest as possible.

Through this work with Twitter, we’ve created a system to provide a summary of planned weekend closures and works through a weekly direct message. We know customers tend to look for this information at around 5pm on a Thursday, so we’ll be sending the weekly advice around this time.

‘Many customers ask us about weekend closures at the end of the week so we’re excited to provide this information proactively and on a convenient platform’ – Sam Whitney, First Contact team (customer services)

The pilot and how it works

This week we have opened @TfLTravelAlerts so you can subscribe. Recently we opened Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail for travel alerts.

We invite you to subscribe through http://tfl.gov.uk/twitter-alerts

Subscribers will receive a direct message every Thursday afternoon with information about planned weekend closures and events. To receive these alerts on your smartphone you will need to enable notifications.

Your subscription can be personalised with the following options:

  1. Pause alerts (for periods such as holidays)
  2. Subscribe or unsubscribe to other Tube and rail lines for direct message notifications
You can easily personalise your travel alerts, including editing the times you receive alerts and pausing them if you're away

You can easily personalise your travel alerts, including editing the times you receive alerts and pausing them if you’re away

The service is in addition to the existing team who take care of the Tube and rail Twitter feeds 24/7, and they will continue to be available to help.

Your feedback will be crucial to the outcomes of this pilot, and we really want you to let us know what you think of the service. If your feedback is positive, we will continue to work with Twitter to improve the service.

Please do ask questions on this pilot, as well as any feedback you have. Leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Posted by Steven Gutierrez

8 Comments

  1. […] On its Digital Blog, TfL notes that it chose Thursdays because that’s when travellers tend to look for weekend travel advice. Requests apparently peak at around 5pm on that day. With this in mind, the authority will send a direct message full of travel information to subscribers’ Twitter accounts, a method that is convenient but not overly intrusive. […]

    Like

    Reply

  2. Look forward to receiving your updates.

    Like

    Reply

  3. Any plans to include boat disruptions in there too?
    There seems an inconsistent approach to the inclusion of boats in TFL systems. Sometimes they’re there (eg Arrival boards), sometimes they’re not (eg This twitter pilot) and sometimes they pretend to be there, but never actually update (eg https://tfl.gov.uk/river/status )

    Like

    Reply

    1. Steven Gutierrez August 18, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Hi Luke, thanks for the feedback. We will include information in the weekly travel advice message about river services. This is in line with our use of @TfLTravelAlerts where we share major disruption information about river services. In terms of the disruption notifications we are early in the development of the service and modes of transport like river, buses, roads are all being considered. Thanks again for your note.

      Like

      Reply

  4. Is there a charge for this ?

    Like

    Reply

    1. Steven Gutierrez August 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Jan, the service is free and so is Twitter. Hope you enjoy using it. Cheers.

      Like

      Reply

  5. […] part of our drive for innovation. From our work with Twitter on Major Disruption Notifications and Weekend Travel Advice, to the Hackathons we run with various partners and much more, we continue to collaborate with […]

    Like

    Reply

  6. […] to subscribe to instant alerts through Twitter direct messages and soon after added the ability to receive weekly travel advice. Over 10,000 customers have signed up so far, and we’ve had lots of really valuable feedback […]

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s