A new open access operator, Lumo, will start running direct services between London and Edinburgh starting on 25 October and starting at fares of just 14.90 GBP.
The operator is openly pitting itself as a competitor to domestic aviation, saying that more than 74,500 passengers currently fly between the two cities every month. Lumo says it will offer more than one million additional passenger journeys per year. As these new services will run on the East Coast Main Line, they will be fully electric. According to the BEIS UK Government Reporting Emission Factors 2021, flying generates six times more carbon emissions than rail and with fully electric services, Lumo hopes to exceed this ratio.
During the launch period from 25 October to 1 December 60 percent of all single fares will be priced at 30 GBP or less. Every single seat booked up to one day before travel will cost 19.90 GBP or less.
From 25 October services will ramp up over time to a maximum of ten daily services by early 2022.
“Travelling in the UK should not cost a fortune and it certainly shouldn’t be the planet that pays. Whatever your preferred mode of transport, we are likely to be more affordable and kinder to the planet.
“We believe everyone has the right to travel in style. We are empowering people to make green travel choices that are genuinely affordable without compromising on comfort.”
Lumo, which is owned by FirstGroup, will run on the East Coast Main Line and call at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage, which it hopes will provide passengers with alternatives to Newcastle and Luton airports. Another advantage rail has over air travel, in addition to being greener, is that airports are frequently located outside of city centres, meaning that passengers have to make onward travel arrangements. The same isn’t true for central stations.
Lumo has invested 15 million GBP on digital and IT infrastructure and 100 million GBP on the manufacture and maintenance of five new Hitachi AT300 intercity electric trains.
To deliver an enjoyable passenger experience, Lumo will offer an at-seat catering service called LumoEats, selling products from high street brands. There will be free wifi, paperless tickets, an entertainment system and a single class for all passengers.
As part of its selling point of being greener than air travel, Lumo says it will publish its carbon emissions data on a regular basis. This data will go into its carbon calculator that passengers can use to calculate the carbon impact of their journey and compare it to other ways to travel.
To further highlight its green credentials, more than 50 percent of the on-board catering menu will be plant-based, staff uniforms will be responsibly sourced and will also be entirely recyclable, while paper waste will also go down significantly as Lumo intends to be a ‘digital first’ business.
Lumo has set up a training academy to develop staff who are attuned to passenger wellbeing and on-board customer service and who are capable of using new technology and caring for vulnerable passengers. 15 ‘customer driver apprentices’ will graduate from Lumo’s academy this month.
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