Public transport isn't the most user-friendly way of travelling around if you have some sort of mobility restriction, especially where trains are concerned. Assistance is available, but the system still is time consuming and doesn't account for delays, cancellations, and all those other things that happen far too often in this country. But the Rail Delivery Group has now announced it's moving this system into a new app, which will allow passengers to amend any assistance requirements they might need.
Currently disabled passengers who want to book assistance can book over the phone or online, and have to go through a time-consuming system of declaring what assistance they will need and what time they'll need it each time they travel. Those bookings are then sent out to train stations as a printed list, which means there's no way to update the system should the need arise - and in this country I imagine those situations happen a lot.
The new app-based system is expected to resolve those issues. That means letting passengers create their own profiles that negate the need to explain what assistance they need every time they travel, offering live information for staff so they know what's required of them, will have a wide selection of accessibility features, all of which is in addition to being able to book, cancel, and amend assistance requirements, which can take up to 40 minutes when done by phone.
The new app is currently being trialled by four rail operators and has been developed in conjunction with Disability Rights UK, Blind Veterans UK and Anxiety UK. The goal is to have a staff version rolled out by April, and a full public app available all across the UK by next Autumn. It's a shock that the system is still as antiquated as it is, and that it's going to take so long to roll out a modernised system, though I imagine the lengthy period of time before the wider rollout is to ensure that it works damn near perfectly. The last thing the rail network needs is a brand new system that's a steaming pile of garbage. [RDG via Metro]