Despite growing speculation over whether the Government will stick to the final stage of the roadmap scheduled for June 21, the rail operator has been busy preparing for a growth in demand as 78 percent* of rail users in the north in the latest poll say they will be turning to trains when pandemic restrictions are fully lifted.
While passengers have largely been away due to Government guidance on Covid, Northern has been working on a series of new projects and upgrades right across its network during lockdown - including Harrogate - with enhancements made to trains, stations and ways of buying tickets.
In Harrogate's case, the following has been introduced by Northern:
New Smart Flexi ticket: On sale from June 21, a Flexi Season ticket will give passengers eight days of travel in 28 days - any time between two stations - offering flexibility and savings for anybody now working fewer days in the office.
Job Seeker scheme: 50% discount on anytime day tickets, off peak day tickets and season tickets for up to 3 months with a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount card.
Improved accessibility: Welcoming mobility scooters at 100+ stations to improve the journeys of all our customers
RingGo parking: Contact-free parking
Amazon Lockers: A convenient way to collect your parcels on your commute.
In the past 12 months, the train operator has introduced its fleet of new trains, completed the refurbishment of its older trains and delivered millions of pounds worth of improvements at stations, including the installation of more than 600 ticket machines and improved accessibility features.
Mark Powles, Customer and Commercial Director at Northern, said: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we’ve used the past year to deliver a much-improved network for them to return to.
“Research has shown almost 80 percent* of people are expecting to return to offices when restrictions are lifted and those who use our services to get to work will undoubtedly notice some significant enhancements.”
Northern says it is also taking extra care to ensure its trains and stations are as clean as possible for its customers.
More than 600 dedicated cleaning staff are working on trains and at stations with a particular focus on touch points (tables, buttons and toilets). And, of course, face coverings are mandatory (aside from those with specific exemptions) on all trains and at stations.
For more details on the improvements made, tickets on offer and help available to those returning to the workplace, visit the Northern website – northernrailway.co.uk/returntowork.
* Research conducted by Northern in February 2021 amongst a panel of 1,556 people in employment across Northern’s footprint who currently work from home having travelled to a workplace pre-pandemic.
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