Tens of thousands of railway staff are being trained to provide better assistance to disabled passengers.
By the end of 2021, almost 30,000 passenger-facing staff will have undertaken disability awareness and equality training as part of requirements set out in the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) Guidance.
They will learn how to communicate more effectively with disabled passengers, understand challenges they face when travelling and refresh their knowledge and skills to provide any assistance needed.
The rail regulator welcomed this progress made by all 24 train and station operators in its review of ATP commitments.
It said that despite the challenges of Covid-19, most operators are broadly on track to meet their commitments by the end of July.
ORR’s monitoring of the roll-out has also seen 13 train and station operators develop new courses to be used in staff inductions and for refresher training.
The organisation said that key to successful delivery has been the involvement of disabled people in the development and delivery of training – making their experiences of using the railway a central focus.
And 11 train operators are extending the training from frontline staff to all colleagues.
Stephanie Tobyn, Deputy Director, Consumers at ORR said: “ORR wants all passengers to be able to travel safely with confidence and with ease. Introducing obligations on train and station operators to provide up-to-date, regular disability awareness and equality training to their staff is part of our broad package of measures to improve the experience of disabled passengers.
“Despite our initial concerns about progress in designing and delivering compliant training packages, the picture has become much more positive over the last six months, with the process of training tens of thousands of staff now well under way.”
Neil Craig, mobility and Inclusion Manager at Great Western Railway, said: “As lockdown is eased and people start to use the railway again, it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to ensure that the services we offer are accessible to all passengers.
“We are immensely proud to deliver this new disability awareness training, ensuring that all of our helpful and friendly frontline staff, have the knowledge and training required to give customers with disabilities the time, support and assistance that they require.”