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Sharing best practice on coronavirus communications Monday June 22, 2020

Marketing and customer services professionals from across the light rail sector have been sharing valuable insights into measures taken by networks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

New government rules on the mandatory use of face coverings in England proved one of the main points of discussion last week at the first ‘virtual’ meeting of the UKTram Light Rail Marketing, Communications and Customer Services Group.

Colleagues from Nottingham, Blackpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Edinburgh joined the Teams call to give updates on their post-lockdown messaging, with the aim of sharing best practice as customer numbers begin to increase.

Jamie Swift, UK Tram Marketing and Commercial Manager, explained: “Early observations suggest that the new face covering rules are being followed by the vast majority of customers, and operators have been playing their part by making information and guidance easily accessible for customers.

“Some operators have also introduced ‘assistance cards’ for customers who are exempt from wearing a face covering. These help them to communicate with others if they’re challenged, reducing the risk of a misunderstanding.”

Members of the group also reported on their plans for more flexible ticket options as travel patterns change, and the challenges they face in maintaining social distancing as customer numbers grow.

“It was clear from the meeting that networks in cities across the country have risen to the enormous challenge of maintaining a service for key workers while protecting customers and employees,” Jamie said.

“Moving forward it’ll be as important as ever to share ideas on the best ways to communicate with the travelling public, and to present a united front as we face the difficult task of balancing assurances that networks are safe with the need for customers to remain cautious,” he added.

Following the success of the first hour-long ‘virtual’ catch up, a similar meeting for members of the group is being planned for July. Anyone with a marketing, communications or customer service role in the light rail sector is welcome to join and should email further details.