Disabled train customers using Passenger Assist will now be able to book up to two hours in advance of their journey instead of six giving them more travel flexibility.
Passenger Assist allows people to request an assistance booking in advance so that train company staff will be on hand to help with things like navigating a station, boarding a train, or arranging a ramp on and off a train.
During the first three weeks of April since booking times were reduced, train companies have provided over 51,500 assistances for journeys booked more than two hours ahead, and over 4,700 assistances for journeys booked with less than two hours’ notice.
The reduction in booking times comes after rail companies last year introduced a new app, Passenger Assistance by Transreport, which speeds up the process to request assistance. Customers can also book assistance by phone, text phone or online.
Travel in safety, comfort and with dignity
Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive Officer of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We want to make the railway more accessible for our customers with accessibility needs to help them travel in safety, comfort and with dignity. This is a positive step that will have a big impact on our customers using Passenger Assist, giving them greater flexibility so they can travel with confidence.”
Improving Passenger Assist is part of a wider strategy to make the railway accessible to all. Train operators are also providing better information to all customers, delivering Disability Equality Training to all frontline staff, and integrating accessibility into all industry planning to provide equality in the customer experience.
Clive Wood, Lead Regional Policy & Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, added: "Passenger Assist is a vital service for many blind and partially sighted people who want to travel by train independently and with confidence. Reducing the minimum booking time from six to two hours before travelling will enable passengers who prefer to book assistance the opportunity to be more spontaneous. This is a significant step to making train travel accessible for all.”
Learning Disability Today would like to know your experience of booking assistance on trains. Contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org