Greater Anglia has introduced a new accessibility training course to improve overall customer service for disabled passengers.
The company has commissioned a team of Accessibility and Inclusion trainers to deliver regular training sessions over the next two years to ensure its workforce can help improve the journeys of people with accessibility needs.
The programme is also ‘disabled-led’, as the sessions are all delivered by disabled trainers, after Greater Anglia commissioned consultant, Sarah Rennie, to put together a team.
The course covers meeting and greeting disabled customers and how to talk to them about their access needs, language and terminology, communication, body language, etiquette and practical examples of assisting customers with different impairments, as well as the business and legal case for why it’s important to understand the issues.
At the end of the course, delegates are invited to make an ‘Inclusion Promise’, where they name one thing they plan to do differently to improve accessibility and inclusion for customers.
Around 40,000 people per year use Greater Anglia’s Assisted Travel service to get help with making a train journey.
Staff are able to meet passengers, help them get on and off trains and help with luggage.
A similar number of customers with accessibility needs also use Greater Anglia services without booking.
Greater Anglia continues to roll out its new fleet of Stadler trains which are more accessible, as they are fitted lower level floors and a retractable step at each door, which bridges the gap between station platform and train. This makes them more accessible for wheelchairs, buggies and people with mobility impairments.
What did the officials say?
Greater Anglia’s Accessibility Manager, Rebecca Richardson, said:
“At Greater Anglia we are really serious about doing better in this area. We want everyone to have a good journey with us, so giving our staff the skills and knowledge to always have accessibility in the forefront of their minds will help us achieve that step-change in customer service that we are seeking to provide.”
“This training is going to make a real difference for staff as it will give them more confidence when assisting disabled customers.”
“And it will really help disabled customers with their journey experience as staff are better able to understand what they need to do in order to support somebody through their journey and to provide a good passenger experience.”
Equality Trainer, Tracey Proudlock said:
“The training allows staff to come together and talk about the challenges they face in their role, find solutions and then go back to work with some concrete ideas about how to make a difference.”
Equality Trainer, Sarah Rennie, said:
“The training is also facilitated by disabled trainers – which is important because we bring a level of lived experience into the room to really bring that training to life.”
To buy tickets or check the live departures of Greater Anglia services, you can visit their website here.
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