The UK Rail Industry is trialling an innovative new app designed to revolutionise passenger assistance for disabled rail users.
Set to be in use next Autumn with staff options available from April, the new Passenger Assist App has been developed by Transreport, in partnership with Disability Rights UK, Blind Veterans UK and Anxiety UK.
Currently the app is being tested by four train companies up and down the country and offers staff the ability to be able to know the whereabouts of a passenger at any given time of their travel, which is useful in being able to share knowledge of delays, missed trains or platform changes in advance.
West Midlands Railway, London North Western Railway, Greater Anglia and South Western Railway have implemented the app into their systems and are reporting feedback.
The app comes forth due to Paralympian, Wafula-Strike’s campaign for better accessibility for disabled people on public transport, specifically within the rail sector. Wafula is an Author, Athlete, Sporting Ambassador and MBE, who believes that the app will provide a sense of safety to the disabled when using trains.
The current system for people with mobility problems uses a print-out which is given to staff after the person books assistance prior to travel. This however has huge problems if something changes as the print out cannot be altered efficiently to inform the passenger, and can leave staff going to the wrong place to offer assistance.
The new app will allow for users to create their own profile where they can book, amend or cancel travel and provide staff with live information that could prove helpful for both the passenger and staff members. By ensuring better staff to customer communication, the app will allow a more flexible approach to travel to come forth.
The app provides the first big step in creating rail travel that is open and easily accessible to disabled people and allows everyone to receive the service they need to travel safely on trains across the United Kingdom.
It will also eliminate the need for customers to re-specify their requirements every time they travel, as the online profile will allow for their presence and requirements to be stored on the app and accessed easily by staff, who can use the information to ensure a stress-free journey takes place.