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New ORR guidelines to improve travel for disabled passengers

1st August 2019

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New ORR guidelines

New Office of Rail and Road guidance has been published with the aim of making it easier for disabled and elderly passengers to travel by rail.

The Accessible Travel Policy is designed to provide those who travel with booked assistance with greater confidence.

Between 2018 and 2019 there were almost 1.3 million journeys made with booked assistance, an increase of 2% on the prior year.

Inconsistent service

According to the ORR, data gathered from passenger research, disability groups and industry experts, highlighted issues with existing industry systems and processes, which led to some passengers not receiving the service they expected.

These new and updated guidelines include:

  • Improved staff training in disability awareness, and involving disabled people themselves in service delivery, as well as requiring refresher training every two years.

  • Improved reliability of assistance for passengers who book in advance and request assistance from the station with a standardised handover process for all mainline stations by June 2020.

  • Improving process for passengers to receive redress when booked assistance fails.

  • Reducing the notice required for booking assistance from 24 hours to two hours ahead of travel.

  • Making journey planning easier by improving the quality of information available to passengers on what facilities are available at their station.

Revised policies are expected to be submitted by December 2019 after consultation with disabled organisations, industry bodies and station operators.

'Society's expectations have moved on'

Stephanie Tobyn, Deputy Director of Consumer Affairs ORR said: "The previous guidance was written a decade ago and since then society’s expectations have moved on.

“The changes we have made reflect a greater awareness of the accessibility needs of different individuals, changing demographics and travel patterns, and the many opportunities presented by new technology. We will now work with the train and station operators to ensure they deliver on society’s changed expectations.

"Great Britain’s railway must be as accessible to older, frail and disabled people, as every other user, and that is why we welcome the progress that has been made, which we noted in our annual Measuring Up report published last week.

"However, with the number of journeys made by people with mobility needs increasing, we also need to see faster progress towards consistently high standards right across the rail network."

Portaramp provide a range of access ramp solutions for the rail industry. For more information, click here, or call us on 01953 681799.

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