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What is the Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP)?

Transport Focus was one of the organisations involved in 2009 in formulating the guidance, drawn up by the Department for Transport, which sets out the content of DPPPs .  

Transport Focus is consulted on the content of each new operator’s DPPP and on any major changes to it once it has been approved.  Overall responsibility for administering DPPPs now rests with the Office of Rail and Road.

Each rail service company must produce a Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP), a statement of its practices and policies on the arrangements it makes to assist older people and those with reduced mobility to travel by train. Each rail company must be licensed to operate; a condition of that licence requires a DPPP to be drawn up and abided by. Each DPPP must be revised annually and approved by ORR. The requirement applies to all passenger-train and/or station operators.

Each DPPP now comprises two distinct documents:

Making Rail accessible: helping older and disabled passengers
, setting out the arrangements for passengers, which must be produced in a handy size and displayed in racks at staffed stations where their trains call. It must contain:

  • Policy summary;
  • The details of the assistance which can be provided;
  • The arrangements if alternative transport by road is necessary;
  • Providing information about train services;
  • Information about tickets and fares;
  • Arrangements at stations and on trains;
  • Making connections;
  • How you can be assisted if services are disrupted;
  • How to contact the operator;
  • Alternative formats: e.g. large print; audio versions; Braille; Easy read.

A policy document: Making rail accessible: guide to policies and practices, comprising:

  • Operator’s strategy;
  • Management arrangements;
  • Monitoring and evaluation;
  • Access improvements;
  • Working with others;
  • Staff training;
  • Emergency procedures;
  • Communications strategy;
  • Car parking.

The second document is not generally available to the public although the company may include it on its website or will send you a copy if you request one.

The content of DPPPs varies slightly from one company to another because, amongst other reasons:

  • different operators’ policies about providing on-train staff;
  • the availability or absence of reservable on-board accommodation;
  • differing policies on the carriage of mobility scooters;
  • some train companies do not manage stations (e.g. CrossCountry Trains; open-access operators; charter-train operators);
  • some rail companies do not operate passenger trains (e.g. Network Rail);
  • some train companies operate only “heritage” stock and/or charter services;
  • the availability, or not, of on-train catering;
  • the provision, or not, of first-class accommodation on their trains.

Both documents forming the DPPP must be available to the public upon request; Making Rail Accessible – Helping older and disabled passengers leaflets should be in brochure racks at staffed stations. The racks should display copies of the DPPP of each operator serving that station. DPPPs should also be shown on websites and be made available in a variety of formats (Braille; audio; large-print; easy-read; etc) within seven days of request.

The DPPP must also state the operator’s policy regarding passengers who cannot buy tickets, or can buy them only with difficulty, at the station due to their disability.

Each DPPP must undertake to provide whatever assistance the company reasonably can to disabled passengers who need to travel at short notice and who have not been able to book assistance or on-train accommodation.

The DPPP must tell you the hours the train operator’s contact centre is open and how far in advance you should book assistance.  Some train operators require only a few hours’ notice of your journey and some offer a turn-up-and-go service. You should check all these details with the operator whose service you want to use. 

The DPPP requires operators to advise within 24 hours if any breakdown or non-availability of equipment reduces a station’s step-free nature or access to facilities: e.g. lift breakdown; accessible toilet out of order; or absence of staff. This information must be available to all assistance help lines and on websites.

Each DPPP must also state how passengers will be assisted to find a seat aboard train on which it is not possible to reserve. It must tell you if staff are supposed to be available at stations and/or on trains.

Station operators must liaise with companies operating kiosks and shops on their premises to ensure co-operation in making them accessible, where possible.

DPPPs require rail companies to offer you a taxi, fully accessible if necessary, if you cannot use a specific station (e.g. due to the stairs or steep slopes there or if the lift you need to use is temporarily out of action or if no staff are available there to assist). It is important that operators ensure that the taxi is accessible to you. Many ‘accessible’ taxis are designed to carry a wheelchair but may be wholly unsuitable for you if you cannot step up into it and stoop as you do so. Make sure that you specify your needs when booking. In some parts of the country fully-accessible taxis, where actually required, are rare and notice is usually necessary to book one.

Network Rail operates no passenger trains but does directly manage the largest stations on the network and so has its own DPPP. Some airport stations (for instance Prestwick International Airport) have independent station operators each of which has its own DPPP.

If you need to know anything which you cannot find in the DPPP or on the company’s website it is best to contact them and ask.

  • Train
  • Coach
  • Tram
  • Bus
  • Accessibility


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