UK-based tech firm Transreport, in association with Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and the wider rail industry, has developed a new app to offer support to disabled commuters for their rail journeys.

The Passenger Assistance app has launched across the National Rail network, enabling commuters to update their profile, seek help, and review their journeys via smartphone.

The app will also provide fast assistance bookings to passengers, along with the option to immediately revise accessibility requirements on their profile.

This will result in time savings as staff will be able to provide tailored assistance according to individual needs.

Calls to book assistance on the phone would previously consume up to 40 minutes.

The app will send the assistance requests to the train operator directly. Thereafter, the operator will be required to confirm the booking via email with a unique booking reference.

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The operator will arrange support from a trained staff member, who can adjust their approach for different disabilities based on regular updates.

The app is suited to work with mobile assistive support tools, including font resizing, contrast adjustment and screen magnification. It is also compatible with text-to-speech tools and screen readers.

RDG CEO Jacqueline Starr said: “We want to make the railway more accessible to more people and this new app is a first step towards transforming the way disabled passengers request assistance, with greater control at their fingertips.

“To help all our passengers travel with confidence as restrictions ease, we’re also providing effective ventilation on trains, continued cleaning and better information about busy services to help with social distancing.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris added: “DfT has supported and provided funding to develop this app since its earliest inception and it builds on brilliant accessibility improvements already made by the rail industry, simplifying disabled passengers’ experience of the network and ensuring staff have the right tools to assist them.”

During the development phase, Transreport created an accessibility panel to seek inputs from accessibility experts and disabled people.