Train operator GWR has launched a mobile Customer Assistance Team to help those with reduced mobility to be able to travel with confidence.
Until recently those needing additional assistance are helped onto a train by one colleague and met at their destination by another, meaning that customers can become anxious about being met, and in some instances are unable to alight at smaller, unstaffed stations. The new 10-member mobile team means that a member of staff can travel with the passenger, taking care of the entire journey experience and ensuring continuity of service.
GWR Mobility and Inclusion Manager Neil Craig said:
‘Last year over 160,000 successfully used our assisted travel service, but we are always looking at how we can improve the service we offer and reduce barriers for those with disabilities to travel by train.
‘We hope this new service will allow even more people to take advantage of our train services and will be monitoring its success closely.’
The Mobility Issues Group for Goring (MIGGS) Chair John Boler said:
‘We welcome GWR’s commitment to the improvements sought by MIGGS, especially that Accessible Travel will apply to passengers whose mobility is impaired by age, as well as those disabled by illness or accident.
‘The most important test of success will be whether the initiative encourages more elderly and mobility impaired people to travel by train. The biggest deterrent to date has been a fear of being stranded on a train or at stations late at night. We hope that this problem will soon be a thing of the past and wish the new mobile customer care assistant team well.’
Launched in December the team has now helped over 500 customers.