Passengers who use British Sign Language will be able to use SignLive which is a service where passengers can connect to an interpreter via video call.
Connection times are usually less than 1 minute and the service means the interpreter can communicate announcements or have a three-way conversation with station staff.
The second service being introduced is RoomMate. Wall-mounted inside accessible toilets, the RoomMate asks if the user would like assistance in navigation.
The device can give audio messages to help with the location of the toilet, flush and hand basin.
Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail stations director, Southern region, said: “I’m delighted to introduce SignLive and RoomMate to all Southern region managed stations. Our organisation is committed to making stations open and accessible to all passengers. As more passengers return to the railway, coinciding with the lifting of lockdown restrictions, it’s essential we provide services that remove barriers to travel so that everyone feels welcome in our stations.”
Paul Lennon, Network Rail project manager, Customer Experience team, said: “Stations are the main point of contact for passengers and that is the time when deaf people like me want and need communication. In the past, I have missed station announcements like platform changes when travelling, so I suggested this as a way to help minimise frustrating things like this happening. SignLive will enable station colleagues to give good customer service to deaf passengers if they need assistance.”
Joel Kellhofer, chief executive officer, SignLive, said: “We are delighted to be working with Network Rail to provide BSL interpreting in some of the busiest stations in Britain. Deaf passengers will now have better access to information thanks to an easy way to communicate with members of Network Rail’s team via SignLive.”
Steve Holyer, co-director, easyAccessibility Ltd – the company behind RoomMate, said: “For those with no sight like me, RoomMate is an essential addition to the fixtures and fittings in an accessible toilet. Without this audio assistance, I lose independence and dignity. Network Rail has raised the bar in accessibility where before there was no help for people like me.”
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