The cut in time to book Passenger Assist will support disabled customers and others who need assistance bringing more flexibility and control for customers travelling by train in a bid to help people make their journeys with more confidence.
Passenger Assist gives people the ability to request an assistance booking in advance, which allows train company staff to make sure they are on hand to support with things such as navigating the station, boarding a train or arranging a ramp on and off of a train.
Customers can now book assistance with just 2 hours notice before their journey is due to begin, and can be arranged at any time of day or for any day of the week.
This month so far more than 51,500 assistances for journeys that were booked more than two hours ahead alongside over 4,700 assistances for journeys booked with less than two hours notice.
The decision to cut down booking times follows rail companies bringing out a new app,
Passenger Assistance by Transreport which quickens the process of requesting assistance. Customers wishing to book assistance can also do so via telephone, textphone and online.
In a bid to make the railway accessible to everyone, the improvement of Passenger Assist is just part of a wider strategy which is seeing rail operators provide better information for all customers, giving Disability Equality Training to frontline staff alongside the integration of accessibility for all industry planning to give equality in customer experience.
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.”
Accessibility Minister, Wendy Morton, said:
“Passenger Assist already supports disabled passengers to board trains and navigate stations.
“These measures will have a real-life impact on the people that rely so heavily on our rail networks and reiterate our commitment to building back fairer.”
Clive Wood, Lead Regional Policy & Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said:
“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 6 to 2 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.”