The rail industry has taken a step forward in how it manages accessible travel but it is important that this work continues, says disability charity Scope and rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road.
The work done by industry staff was recognised by both Scope’s Executive Director, James Taylor and the Office of Rail and Road’s Deputy Director of Consumers, Stephanie Tobyn, who appear on the Office of Rail and Road’s new podcast.
Both James and Stephanie highlight that reliability and consistency in assistance is the single biggest requirement for passengers and has a significant impact on the individual when assistance fails.
Speaking on the Rail and Road pod, James Taylor said:
“Many disabled people, thankfully, have a stress free, issue free journey and a lot of that is down to both the individual and staff at stations. All of whom are incredibly helpful.
“We’ve heard from some disabled passengers, particularly during this year and during lockdown about how helpful staff have been in terms of providing masks, offering sanitiser, supporting people with guidance to and around the station concourse.”
ORR’s Stephanie Tobyn added:
“There’s a huge amount of focus just now and I think what’s really helping is a lot of collaboration.
“It is important that the whole industry really comes together and realises its obligations and responsibilities in this area and works together to look at the experience of passengers and to think about how things can be improved.”
Speaking about priorities for next year, both agreed that although there can be issues with passenger assistance, it was agreed that the forthcoming developments by industry will help passengers travel with confidence.
James Taylor said:
“We have the forthcoming passenger assist mobile app, which we certainly believe could help lots and lots of disabled people have a better experience with assistance, be able to communicate with a station, with a member of staff, with a train operating company much more easily, and hopefully reduce some of that frustration.”