Passenger assistance

ORR highlights how industry can improve passenger assistance

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has identified several key areas where industry can drive improvements in passenger assistance for disabled people.

The rail regulator has stated that train operators should focus on more widely adopting the Passenger Assist staff app, which can improve the reliability of assistance and drive continuous improvement in the long term.

The ORR also says that communication must be clear and comply with the ‘handover protocol’ between departure and destination stations when delivering passenger assistance. The ORR highlights that this includes at peak times as well.

Operators should also ensure that the appropriate procedures are in place to allow onboard staff to deliver assistance when needed.

Rail leaders should look to make sure industry systems that are designed to support accessibility requirements are robust, work for passengers, and are up to date.

“…it is essential that the industry is focused on consistently upholding its commitment…”

The conclusions follow an audit of five operators, which were picked as a representation of industry due to their range of track records in passenger assistance performance.

This included East Midlands Railway, Govia Thameslink Railway, Greater Anglia, London North Eastern Railway and Northern.

It is emphasised by the ORR that, when passenger assistance is booked, satisfaction levels are high at over 90%, but if services do fail the impact on passengers is significant.

“When assistance fails it can significantly impact the well-being of passengers and their overall travel experience,” said the director of strategy and reform at the ORR, Stephanie Tobyn.

“We recognise that unforeseen circumstances can arise, but it is essential that the industry is focused on consistently upholding its commitment to providing support for passengers with disabilities.

“Addressing and focusing effort on the fundamental issues set out here will contribute to creating a more inclusive and accessible travel environment for all passengers.”

She continued: “We will work closely with train operating companies on this going forward and will continue to act to ensure regulatory requirements on accessibility are being met.”

Image credit: iStock


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