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3.5 million assistance scheme journeys supported since launch of Passenger Assist

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Rail customers with accessibility needs are benefiting from a specifically designed app to help them book the assistance they need, with over 3.5 million journeys supported since it was launched two years ago by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

The app was created as part of the rail industry’s commitment to be an accessible and inclusive mode of transport for all. When developing the app, engagement was undertaken with stakeholders representing passengers with accessibility needs including train operating company accessibility and inclusion leads, accessibility panels, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office of Road and Rail (ORR).

It enables users to request assistance booking in advance. Any train company can organise assistance for your entire journey, even if you are travelling on multiple services. Assistance can include support when boarding the train, arranging a ramp on or off, and meeting you from your train and taking you to your next train or the exit.

The use of the app in its first two years demonstrates the opportunity to promote rail travel for individuals with accessibility needs. However, despite the initial success, the service is not as widely known as it could be and rail operators want to promote greater awareness of the service to encourage use.

Over the first two years, Passenger Assist has witnessed rapid growth, with 188,926 registered users as of May 2023. In this period, an average of just under 5,000 assists per day were provided through the platform.

Around 87% of people are having a positive experience using the service according to a recent study by the Office of Rail and Road.

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive officer of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The two-year anniversary of Passenger Assist is an important landmark for the rail industry.

“We are proud to have introduced this innovative service, which has transformed the way people with accessible needs can experience train travel. The remarkable figures speak for themselves, demonstrating the significant and positive impact Passenger Assist has made on people’s lives.

“We also know that the service isn’t perfect every time, and we will continue working with stakeholders to make the service better. We really want as many people as possible to benefit from using Passenger Assist, so there is work to do to improve awareness. We remain committed to ensuring that all our customers have equal opportunities to travel comfortably and independently.”

Overall satisfaction with Passenger Assist is high, reflecting the positive impact the service has on passengers’ lives. A recent study by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) revealed that 75% of users are highly likely to recommend the service to others, highlighting the growing recognition of its effectiveness and reliability.

Additionally, 61% of passengers stated that they would have been unable to complete their journeys without Passenger Assist, underscoring its vital role in ensuring equal access to transportation.

Image credit: Rail Delivery Group

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