We put forward recommendations in a submission to the Office of Road and Rail, the body which ensures rail companies meet their responsibilities. The recommendations covered booking tickets, right through to audio announcements on trains. Our recommendations were informed by our brilliant campaign supporters via workshops and an online survey.
One of the issues we heard about the most was the reliability of assistance and how passengers usually had to book it 24-hours in advance. So we've called on the rail regulator to do more to enable passengers to access “turn up and go” assistance. This would mean blind and partially sighted people can make spontaneous journeys without worrying about navigating the station.
Station accessibility was another area of concern; missing warning tactile from the edge of platforms, help points in different locations depending on the station, as well as missing audio announcements all added to the stress of travel. Many people also spoke about their experiences with staff who didn’t know how to guide them, and we heard several horror stories about people falling between the platform and the train.
It is clear that more needs to be done to ensure that staff are trained properly in how to respectfully assist blind and partially sighted people, which is why we also called on the Office Road and Rail to make disability awareness training a key part of their work, delivered in conjunction with blind and partially sighted people and to take proper action against companies that fail in their duties.
In addition, we reiterated our concerns over driver-only trains.
We eagerly await the outcome of this consultation and will keep up the pressure to make our railways accessible for blind and partially sighted people. Watch this space for further updates and other consultations we will want to hear your views on.