4 NOVEMBER 2019
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25 years of Eurostar
Mike Cooper became CEO of Eurostar in March 2018, having been CEO of Yodel and deputy CEO and MD Mainland Europe at Arriva, where he led the European transport business with responsibility for rail, bus and trams across 13 countries. Before Arriva, Cooper was chief commercial officer for easyJet from its flotation in 2000 until 2005 and before that he was MD of Portland Travel, part of the Thomson Travel Group.
In 25 years, Eurostar has transformed the connection between the UK and mainland Europe, running a service which has grown from just eight trains a day to as many as 62 a day now.
Since launch, we have moved homes to St Pancras International, reduced journey times, introduced new destinations and invested in a state-of-the-art new fleet of trains – to name just a few highlights. What has been consistent is our ambition to deliver consistently for our customers and strive to improve our service.
We are continuing to invest in our stations to give our customers the best possible experience. Over the past couple of years, we have expanded our stations, enhanced our signage and introduced fast, efficient eGate technology that ensures more passengers have a swift, easy and seamless departure experience. We have also recently installed new cocktail lounges in our Business Premier lounges in London and Paris which are proving extremely popular.
We are also taking advantage of new technology to provide a better service, with new functionality being added to our website and app all the time. Whether it’s the functionality for travellers to make changes to a booking directly, to access journey information or even to request a glass of champagne through the app as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations, we know that customers continually expect more and we are working hard to provide a seamless experience online as well as when they travel.
The challenge of climate change has meant a growing demand for sustainable travel. In response, we are committed to encouraging as many people as possible to make the switch from plane to high-speed rail for short-haul European travel, while reducing our carbon footprint.
A Eurostar journey already emits up to 90% less carbon than the equivalent flight, but we are focused on further reducing the energy used by our trains, the amount of plastic and paper that we use and to working with suppliers to source seasonal and locally grown food to be served on board.
We even have our own beehives, which are located alongside the tracks in Kent with the honey we produce being used in our desserts on board, and our very own gin served in Business Premier lounges.
We carried 11m travellers in 2018 and the introduction of our service to Amsterdam provides an opportunity to encourage the 4m passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam every year to switch from plane to train.
The new service was met with much enthusiasm from consumers, and in response to demand we introduced a third daily service which started in June this year. We expect the agreement to be in place very soon which will allow us to run a direct return from Amsterdam to London, which should really increase demand on an already popular route.
We are focused on making it easier for travellers to choose the train over plane, with an expanded offer for our customers. After 25 years of providing fast and easy links between city centres, the future holds a great opportunity to continue to grow and to reinforce our position as the most environmentally-friendly way to travel around Europe.
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