Passengers with disabilities

All licensed train and station operators are required to establish and comply with a Disabled People's Protection Policy (DPPP) which sets out how they will protect the interests of disabled users of their trains and stations.

Making Rail Accessible: ORR's role in enforcing disabled people's protection policies (DPPPs)

We are responsible for making sure that train and station operators have policies and practices in place that protect the interests of older and disabled passengers. We want to use this role to help empower passengers to make confident journeys.

Each train operator produces a booklet called "Making Rail Accessible: Helping older and disabled people". These booklets are available from stations and the websites of individual operators and they explain what additional assistance disabled people can expect to receive to help them when travelling by train. For further information, and to book assistance, please contact your train operator, or see the website disability-onboard.co.uk, which is operated by the Association of Train Operating companies.

The assistance offered by each operator may vary slightly. However all operators must as a minimum provide the assistance set out below.

If you would like further information on our role in monitoring and enforcing the DPPPs, please see our policy page.

In October 2014, ORR and the Open Data Institute hosted a workshop with industry stakeholders to investigate problems with the existing services, challenges faced by disabled rail passengers and how access to rail information could be improved. View the full report pdf icon PDF, 307 Kb from the workshop.

Passenger Assist

Passenger Assist is a service provided by train companies to disabled passengers and others who require assistance with any part of their train journey.

Staff can help you plan your journey, book tickets and make reservations; they can also assist you at stations and on board trains, with anything from changing platforms to finding your seat.

Passenger Assistance is free and available to anyone who needs assistance due to a disability, temporary impairment, or older age. No railcard is required. For more information ask at your local station or visit the website of your local train operator. 

Ramps

Operators must provide ramps that are fit for purpose, available at all staffed stations (either at the station or on board the train) to facilitate the boarding or leaving of the train by wheelchair users, whether assistance has been booked in advance or not. 

Where this assistance is needed at an unstaffed station, you will need to book it in advance through Passenger Assist. The operator must ensure that they make a member of staff with a ramp available to deliver the assistance.

Alternative accessible transport

Operators must provide, without extra charge, an appropriate alternative accessible service to take disabled passengers to the nearest or most convenient accessible station from where they can continue their journey. 

This duty applies where: 

  • the station is inaccessible; 
  • where, for whatever reason, substitute transport is provided to replace rail services (eg because of planned engineering works) that is inaccessible to disabled passengers;
  • where there is disruption to services at short notice that, for whatever reason, makes services inaccessible to disabled passengers.

Passenger Information

Operators must provide up-to-date information about the accessibility of facilities and services at stations and on their trains on the National Rail Enquiries website, including the Station Journey Planner ('Stations Made Easy'), as well as their own website.

Tickets and fares

Operators must ensure that, where disabled passengers are unable to buy a ticket at a station before their journey, they are able to buy a ticket without penalty on the train or at their destination.

Scooter Carriage

Operators must state in their DPPP their policy regarding the carriage of scooters for mobility-impaired people on their trains. Operators are expected to make the reasoning behind their policy clear in the DPPP, particularly with regard to any policy excluding the carriage of some or all mobility scooters.

Where operators do carry scooters on trains, it is recommended that operators clearly indicate whether passengers are required to transfer to a seat, rather than remain seated on their scooter while on board the train.

Aural and visual information

Operators should give details in their DPPP of their policies for the provision of aural and visual information at stations. This must include a commitment to providing, wherever possible, clear and consistent aural and visual information of train departures and other relevant messages, particularly in the event of delays or disruption.

Information points and displays

Disabled passengers should be able to get all the information they need at a station from one source. Sections A2 and B1 of Accessible train and station design for disabled people provide standards and guidance for information provision.

Luggage

Luggage can be difficult to manage for many disabled people, and operators must ensure that staff will be available to help where this assistance has been arranged in advance (for example through Passenger Assist).

For further information, and to book assistance, please contact your train operator, or see the website disability-onboard.co.uk, which is operated by the Association of Train Operating companies.