South Western Railway (SWR) in the UK has introduced the new Assisted Boarding Points service, with the aim of providing an improved experience for commuters.
According to the company, this service is the industry’s first such initiative.
A host of SWR stations will now offer dedicated Assisted Boarding Points on platforms to provide boarding assistance.
At these points, commuters will be able to WhatsApp or call a dedicated customer service team.
The team will get in contact with the guard regarding the next available service, as well as helping upon the arrival of the train.
SWR noted that the service will require the passengers to provide ten minutes notice prior to commuting.
The boarding points will make sure that both passengers and guards know the exact meeting point.
The points will feature clear signage, with a QR code for commuters to scan and text the dedicated team with details of their journey on WhatsApp.
Commuters will be required to submit details of their departure station, destination station and the type of assistance they need.
The assistance supports commuters with visual impairments, reduced mobility, or an injury, and will be provided by the guard onboard the arriving train.
At present, the service is being introduced at SWR stations in Surrey, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset, and Devon.
It will subsequently be rolled out in all 189 stations and 417 platforms.
SWR deputy customer experience director Christian Neill said: “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.”
Additionally, SWR has reduced its timetable after the derailment of a train and many coronavirus-related staff absences.
The train, which was not carrying any passengers and had been moving at low speed, came off the tracks at Portsmouth last week.
The operator has called off all trains between Salisbury and Reading.