South Western Railway (SWR) has announced the launch of Assisted Boarding Points – an industry first assistance service for its customers.
Customers at selected SWR stations will now see dedicated Assisted Boarding Points on station platforms, where they can WhatsApp or call a dedicated customer service team, who will contact the guard on the next available service and ensure assistance is provided when the train arrives.
The service requires customers to give 10 minutes notice prior to travelling.
SWR said the boarding points will ensure both customers and guards know exactly where to meet – helping to improve the overall travel experience.
There will be signage with a QR code for customers to scan and instantly message the dedicated team with details of their journey via WhatsApp, and also a direct telephone number.
Customers will need to provide details of their departure station, destination station and the type of assistance they require such as a wheelchair ramp, support getting onto the train due to a visual impairment, reduced mobility or an injury, and the guard onboard will be ready to help upon arrival.
The service is currently being rolled out at a number of SWR stations in Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Devon, but it will eventually cover the whole network – in total, to 189 stations and 417 platforms.
Christian Neill, deputy Customer Experience Director at South Western Railway commented: “We know that not every journey is planned in advance, and indeed they shouldn’t have to be. We’re proud to be launching this industry first service, which will make it markedly easier for our customers who require assistance to travel with minimum fuss or difficulty. This is just one way in which we’re boosting the accessibility of our network and helping all of our customers to travel with confidence.”