Travelling by train can be a “Herculean task” for disabled Brits due to a lack of information on rail providers’ websites, claimed company Whoosh Media.
This comes after the The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) called for the country’s 25 rail operators to improve in this same category in order to make travel easier for disabled people.
In April, however, a review by disability charity the Shaw Trust showed that less than half (11) were able to meet Website Content Accessibility Guidelines.
“We’re in the age of the smartphone, but the train operating companies still think like everything is steam-powered,” said Whoosh Media founder, Ed Caldecott.
He continued: “For disabled people, planning a trip by rail becomes a Herculean task that involves finding out about accessible stations and platforms, perhaps pre-arranging help on and off the train and thinking about whether there will be a suitable toilet when they are travelling – and that’s before you factor in temporary reductions in accessibility and details of delays or disruptions to services and facilities.”
Caldecott urged train operators to look at third-party solutions such as Whoosh Media’s Real-Time Journey Dashboard.
The smartphone-based system is activated by scanning a QR code on the passenger’s seat.
Users then get access to a wealth of journey information personalised to their exact journey.
This can include location of disabled toilets on their train, full details of facilities available at every station on their route, live timetables for onward travel such as buses and trains at their destination, and the ability to order drinks and snacks direct to their seat.
“The Real-Time Journey Dashboard puts the power back in the hands of passengers in a modern and stress-free way,” explained Caldecott. “Travellers are kept informed in real time how their journey is progressing on a virtual map and informed if they are running late, which is especially useful for disabled passengers who may be being collected at their destination.
“Most importantly, there is a two-way communication between the passenger and rail operator, which means you can ask questions about the service and request help when needed.
“This technology is available now and fits right in with the way people are living their lives today. It is not about doing something special for disabled passengers, but more about giving everyone the right tools to make their journey as stress-free as possible.”