I have today, received a statement from Avanti West Coast regarding their response to COVID-19. Alongside implementing a range of measures to increase safety for both customers and staff which are outlined below. Avanti West Coast, along with many other UK Train operators are introducing a reduced timetable. These will take effect from Monday 23rd March.
A contact from Avanti said:
"As every person, business and institution in the UK has adapted to the challenges of the upgraded response, one early impact has been a sudden and significant drop in demand for transport services. As a result, and as you have probably seen, train companies have been in discussion with the Government about temporary service reductions. The impact of this on Avanti West Coast services is set out below. However, I felt it was important to reassure you that the new timetable has been very carefully designed so that we don’t isolate or impact more than absolutely necessary the people and communities who rely so much on Avanti West Coast’s services."
"The decision to reduce services has been very difficult, but the upgrading of the Government’s advice on COVID-19 also imposes a fundamental duty to protect the health of our staff. Their response to the challenge of protecting passengers from the risk of COVID-19 over the past weeks has been magnificent, and I can assure you that unwavering level of commitment will continue. Finding the balance between protecting staff and still providing lifeline services for our customers has been challenging, and we appreciate that the new service pattern may be inconvenient for some, but it is our intention to return to a normal service pattern just as soon as circumstances allow. Your patience in the meantime is much appreciated."
Here are the details of the reduced timetable
We will be running four trains per hour to key destinations for most of the day, just under half the normal volume of week-day services. Calling patterns have been amended to ensure that stations are not missed out wherever possible. In some instances, destinations that were previously served by direct services will now involve a change of trains. This timetable will be in effect until further notice. To check your journey, please visit www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk. This timetable consists of:
- 1 train per hour (tph) London-Manchester via Stoke, calling at Milton Keynes, Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport.
- 1 tph London-Wolverhampton, calling at Milton Keynes, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street and Sandwell and Dudley.
- 1 tph London-Glasgow, calling additionally at Crewe, and all regular stations including both Oxenholme and Penrith. A small number of trains will call at Lockerbie and Motherwell at key times.
- 1 tph London-Liverpool, calling at Watford, Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn.
- 1 train per day will run Holyhead-Euston and return each day, calling at Milton Keynes, Crewe, Chester and all AWC calling points between Chester and Holyhead.
- 1 train per day will run Euston-Chester and return each day, calling at Milton Keynes and Crewe.
- 1 train every 2 hours between Chester and Birmingham to maintain connectivity to North Wales and between Birmingham and the North West.
- A small number of trains call at Nuneaton, Tamworth and Lichfield at key times.
- There will be no service to Edinburgh, Blackpool, Shrewsbury or Wrexham. Other operators will continue to serve these stations.
Here are the details of the additional measures being implemented for safety
Refunds and ticket validity
While this timetable is in operation, customers with booked-train-only tickets (Advance tickets) can also travel the train on either side of their booked train. Peak restrictions remain in force. For customers with an Any-Time or Off-Peak ticket, a full refund will be available. For customers with an Advance ticket, we have waived the £10 fee for changing train times (though the difference would have to be paid if a ticket is changed for a more expensive journey). Please check our website for further details.
From Monday, 23 March our staff will only be accepting card payments. Cash payments will still be possible at our automatic ticket vending machines but cash will not be accepted onboard or in ticket offices.
Our train managers will still inspect tickets onboard but this will be done without physically touching the ticket. Customers will be asked to hold tickets up for inspection or place them on a table.
First Class service
Our First Class Lounges will be closed until further notice. Our onboard First Class service will still be in place, including free alcohol, but the range of food offered will be reduced.
Unfortunately this situation is having an effect on everyday life for many of us and I welcome these changes. In these unprecedented times it is so positive to see such measures being put in place to help protect public health. If you have any concerns about these changes your can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org