The ‘Passenger Assistance’ app, developed with train operators, will offer passengers the choice to request assistance, update their profile and review their journeys from anywhere using their smartphone in what’s being billed as a first for public transport anywhere in Great Britain. This can speed up assistance bookings and give customers greater confidence on their journeys as they can amend accessibility requirements on their profile via the app.
Previously, calls to book assistance could take up to 40 minutes on the phone. Staff at stations then received a printed list of booked assistance each morning, which meant when plans changed, the list wouldn’t be updated automatically and staff could end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The new system upgrades along with the app mean the booking process should be smoother for disabled people. Requests to book assistance are sent directly to the train operator which will confirm the booking by email with a unique booking reference. The train operator will arrange assistance by a trained member of staff who will be working from up to date information, adjusting their approach for a range of disabilities.
‘Passenger Assistance’ was built by Transreport, a UK-based tech company which focuses on accessibility and inclusion, in collaboration with rail companies and with input from an Accessibility Panel including disabled passengers and accessibility experts. The app supports screen readers and text to speech tools and is also compatible with mobile assistive support tools such as font re-sizing, contrast adjustment and screen magnification.
Says Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive Officer of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG):
“We want to make the railway more accessible to more people and this new app is a first step towards transforming the way disabled passengers request assistance, with greater control at their fingertips. To help all our passengers travel with confidence as restrictions ease, we’re also providing effective ventilation on trains, continued cleaning and better information about busy services to help with social distancing.”
Adds Jay Shen, Founder and Managing Director of Transreport:
“We’re inspired by The Social Model that says people are disabled by the world around them, not by their impairment or difference. We want to use tech to remove the barriers that make life harder for people with impairments. ‘Passenger Assistance’ makes it much easier for disabled passengers to arrange assisted travel, giving them more control and independence.”
‘Passenger Assistance’ by Transreport is available to download on the App Store and Google Play from today.