Passenger Assist summary report
13 March 2014
It is important that passengers with disabilities can travel freely on the rail network.
Passenger Assist (PA) is the system which disabled passengers use to book assistance and reservations on the national rail network. It replaced the previous booking system, Assisted Passenger Reservation System (APRS), in spring 2012.
In 2008 and again in 2010 we carried out research into the efficiency of APRS. The results showed the industry had some way to go to give disabled passengers full confidence in using the railway. Since we presented those findings and made a number of recommendations, the industry has made changes based upon them. For example, they increased the number of meeting points and standardised the provision of booking confirmation. It also introduced the new PA system.
With support from Network Rail (NR) and the Department for Transport (DfT) we have now repeated the previous research to test the service again. As before, we asked passengers with disabilities to make a series of journeys and to report back on their experiences – the best judges of a system being those who actually use it. This report is based on their experiences.
We welcome the fact that the research shows the booking process generally offers a good experience for passengers, but it also found that there is a need for a more consistent delivery of assistance. While many passengers receive the service they book, others still do not. Uncertainty creates a stressful experience for some passengers.
Our recommendations, starting on page ten, point towards focussing on continuous performance improvements across the whole delivery process.
The challenge for the industry is to build on the foundation already established, to maximise the potential of the new system and to identify where the delivery of the service to passengers needs improvement.
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To see the information about journeys that were made click here.