5% of all UK rail journeys are made by passengers with a disability or long-term illness (according to research by Transport Focus and the Department of Transport), which accounts for 85 million passenger rail journeys in 2017. Although not all disabled passengers require assistance whilst traveling, at least 25% have reported needing assistance on their train journey.
With the growing older population and the much-needed awareness of hidden disabilities, there is increasing demand in the number of passengers that require assistance for their train journey.
The technology company, Transreport has developed the new Transreport Passenger Assist system, which is set to be launched nationally across the rail industry in late 2018. The app and the supporting website enable passengers to request assistance through booking-in- advance or to simply ‘turn-up-and-go’. The system will then notify rail staff of their exact journey details and any assistance that they would require along the way. Both train and station staff will have real-time information at their fingertips to enable them to provide the best quality of assistance, once a request has been sent by a passenger. As the founder and CEO of Transreport, Jay Shen, explains:
“We want UK rail to be accessible for all; there are many people in the rail industry working hard every day to make sure it is, and our technology will make it even easier for both passengers to request assistance, and for staff to deliver that much-needed assistance and reassurance to the passenger.”
Using Bluetooth and GPS technologies, and state-of-the-art software, the Passenger Assist system turns an everyday item, the smartphone, into a powerful tool that keeps passengers and staff better connected, to provide an all-round better and safer journey experience.
“The app has made a big difference to me; we can now decide at any time when we want to travel on the train, whereas under the old method it was necessary to book 24 hours in advance.” Dave Clamp – a passenger currently trialling the app.
Transreport Passenger Assist has had amazing feedback from passengers participating in early-stage trials as well as from station staff, who help to manage some of the busiest stations in the UK. With the high demand for station assistance, whereby some of the busiest stations experience over 150 passengers assists request per hour at peak times during the Christmas period. Staff are excited to have Transreport Passenger Assist to help manage the assistance requests and aid as many people as possible who need assistance. Staff have told Transreport that the app will allow them to better identify the needs of passengers, especially those with hidden disabilities.
Lady-Marie Dawson-Malcom – also a passenger trialling the app, shares, “An assistance app which saves time and worry. It increases confidence for the traveller.”
Transreport is working with several rail and transport authorities, train operators, disability groups, and most importantly, passengers, who have all played a crucial part in the journey to make Transreport Passenger Assist a solution that meets the needs of all passengers.
Douglas Killeya says about the Transreport Passenger Assist App, “I really enjoy the freedom for spontaneous travel, free from the restrictions of predetermined travel times inherent in the existing assist booking system. Being able to get up and go at short notice with the flexibility to change my time of travel at short notice makes a big difference.”
Transreport will be launching their Passenger Assist system with an increasing number of train operators in the U.K. Transreport are always keen to engage with as many passengers as possible to participate in trialling and early-stage deployment, so please do get in touch.