Virgin Trains invited its passengers to start conversations with other passengers this Friday in its new Chat Carriage.
Coach C on a number of Pendolino services have been converted into Chat Carriages to support the BBC’s Crossing Divides On the Move Day, this was designed to get people to better engage with each other, especially when travelling on public transport.
To help get those conversations flowing, passengers buying a hot drink on a select number of trains were given a second for free and encouraged to share it with someone sitting close by means of starting a conversation.
If successful, Virgin Trains will explore rolling out a Chat Carriage as a permanent fixture onboard all of its services in the near future.
What did the officials say?
Jo Buckley, Community Manager at Virgin Trains, said:
“All too often we tend to disappear into our own bubble when travelling by public transport. We think there’s still a place for a smile and a chat. Research shows it can have a really positive impact on wellbeing and can brighten someone’s day.”
“Striking up a conversation with a stranger shouldn’t be so daunting. Through our charity partnership with Rethink Mental Illness and our work with the Samaritans we know how important talking is, so we were delighted to support Crossing Divides On the Move day.”
The BBC’s Emily Kasriel added:
“The day provides an opportunity for those who want to take part, to reach out to fellow passengers. We are delighted to be working with companies like Virgin Trains who are encouraging their passengers to have conversations.”
By coming into contact with others, we may begin to understand other people’s worlds and help create a greater sense of belonging. Those who think there is nothing worse than talking to strangers and relish their ‘me time’ on their journey will be relieved to hear that any activity is entirely voluntary.”