A new rail travel company, promising travelers low-cost travel options as well as low carbon emissions, is set to launch in the UK later this month. The operator – Lumo – is backed by First Group, a British multi-national transport group based in Scotland that already oversees several different bus, coach and rail options in the UK, and will look to convince travelers to take staycations rather than vacations, as international travel continues to be a headache for many.
With rail travel within the UK notoriously expensive, many people overlook traveling by rail when it comes to visiting different parts of the UK, with short, domestic flights preferred for routes between Scotland and London. However, the cheap, environmentally-friendly services provided by Lumo could be set to change that. Here’s a closer look at Lumo, the services they offer and how much tickets will cost.
Rail Travel Shake-Up – Information For Travelers
The ticket prices and poor quality of rail travel in the UK have made it an unaffordable travel option for many in the UK. Even with railcards and promotions, it is not uncommon for rail journeys that last just a few hours to be considerably more expensive than flights to mainland Europe – with several newspaper articles often highlighting how commuters have taken flights to London via another European city for cheaper than the cost on one-way rail fare.
However, the arrival of Lumo could be set to shake up the British rail travel scene. According to their website, the vision of Lumo is:
“To reimagine rail and be the leading long-distance operator in the UK within 3 years of launch. Creating new ways to travel for our customers that challenge other modes of transport, through the provision of a sustainable, high quality, innovative and cost-effective service.”
Whilst their ambitions may seem lofty, it looks as if it is falling into place behind the scenes. Earlier this week, the British rail regulator authorised a fleet of five Hitachi class 803 EMU trains to enter service for Lumo this month. These trains are 130 meters long, have five cars and are capable of hitting speeds of 200km/h. They are the first trains of their class to operate in the UK without any diesel engines fitted, with batteries in their place that guarantee less of a carbon footprint. Services are set to begin on October 25th.
It isn’t just 100% electric-powered trains that make the company eco-friendly – sustainability is a theme that runs through Lumo. The company is committed to being paperless, whilst they also provide recycling facilities onboard their trains – which are manned by staff wearing “ethically sourced attire”, who will be serving a menu that is 50% plant-based.
But as well as being good for the environment, they are also set to be good for travelers. Prices are set to be noticeably cheaper than their competitors, with journeys from London to Edinburgh starting from as little as £15 ($20.78) one-way – cheap enough to make it a solid alternative to low-cost flights. Despite its low-cost nature, Lumo will provide free Wi-Fi to its customers, as well as on-board entertainment.
Research suggests that British consumers’ could be swayed by Lumo’s low prices and sustainable nature. GlobalData’s Q1 2021 consumer survey revealed that 70% of UK respondents are ‘always’, ‘often’, or ‘sometimes’ influenced by how environmentally friendly something is, whilst 62% of UK respondents were ‘extremely’, ‘slightly’, or ‘quite’ concerned about their personal finances – a perfect stop that could make Lumo’s launch a hit with both domestic and international travelers alike.
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