SWR passenger using a wheelchair and wearing a coronavirus face mask

UK: South Western Railway is reducing the advance notice needed for assisted travel services to 10 min, with the roll out of assisted boarding points at stations where passengers can contact its customer service centre which will then let the guard on the next available train know that assistance will be required.

SWR ABP Dorchester South

The assisted boarding points ensure than both passengers and the guard know where to meet, and include the phone number for the contact centre as well as a QR code which can be used to begin a WhatsApp conversation.

Users need to specify their departure and destination stations and the type of assistance they require, such as a wheelchair ramp or support with boarding owing to a visual impairment, reduced mobility or an injury.

The service is currently being rolled out in Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Devon, but it will eventually cover at 417 platforms at 189 SWR stations.

‘We know that not every journey is planned in advance, and indeed they shouldn’t have to be’, said SWR Deputy Customer Experience Director Christian Neill. ‘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.’