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Smartphone assistance app will transform journeys for disabled rail passengers

28 September 2018

Smartphone app, currently being trialled by four train companies, will be rolled out across Britain to revolutionise passenger assistance, making it easier for customers to book help at stations and get a more consistent and reliable service 

Read Rail Delivery Group press release

Currently customers can book in a number of ways including by phone or online, a time-consuming process where they provide contact details and specify the assistance they need every time.

Staff at stations then receive a printed list of booked assistance each morning, which means when plans change, for example if trains are delayed or the customer misses their booked train, there is no way to update the list and staff can end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. The new system will resolve these issues.

The new Passenger Assist app, developed by Transreport for the rail industry, will tackle these problems and see the rail companies delivering on their commitment to enable more people to benefit from the opportunities train travel opens up by:

  • enabling customers to book, change and cancel assistance quickly, which can currently take up to 40 minutes over the phone

  • allowing customers to create a user profile, specifying their personal details and the type of assistance they need, so recurring bookings become quicker

  • providing staff with live information, including key details about the customer and their journey, so they can provide a better service and accommodate short-notice requests

  • ensuring better staff communication so staff can anticipate and deliver changes in planned assistance.

The app will be rolled out in autumn next year once a staff version has been rolled out in April. It has been developed in collaboration with disability charities including Disability Rights UK, Blind Veterans UK and Anxiety UK and includes accessible features, such as the ability to change colour themes, fonts and text sizes. 

Customers will still be able to book using the national freephone number on 0800 022 3720, which will forward them to the train company they need. By textphone, customers can use the free textphone forwarding service on 60083, which will send them the number they need.

Customers can also book online at disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk/travel-assistance/. If customers want to book by email or fax, they can contact their train company directly.