Disabled people's protection policy (DPPP)

Train and station operators are required by their operating licences to establish and comply with a disabled people's protection policy (DPPP) which must be approved by us.

A DPPP sets out, amongst other things, the arrangements and assistance that an operator will provide to protect the interests of disabled people using its services and to facilitate such use.

The 2009 Guidance on how to write your DPPP pdf icon PDF, 672 Kb forms the basis of ORR's review and approval of operators DPPP. Here we provide information aimed at train and station operators about complying with these requirements. Operators should also refer to our July 2014 regulatory statement pdf icon PDF, 304 Kb.

Information for disabled and older passengers, on the types of services they can expect to receive when travelling by train is available on our website in our passengers with disabilities section.

The approval process

Approval of DPPPs for new franchises or new operators

Newly licensed operators or those with new franchise awards must establish and comply with a DPPP. The licence condition sets out the steps required.

Read more about approval of DPPPs for new franchises or new operators

Current research

To allow us to monitor train and station operators’ compliance with the DPPP licence condition, in 2016-17 we are carrying out a large-scale programme of consumer research looking in depth at accessibility and assistance. This will give us a clear picture of passengers with disabilities’ experiences of assisted travel. It will allow us to build up a strong evidence base to help us prioritise and target regulatory interventions that may be necessary to improve the experience for passengers with disabilities.

Our focus will be on the following areas:

  1. A survey of passengers who have booked assistance. This will provide insight into passengers’ experiences of the booking process, assistance provision, changing trains, and the knowledge and helpfulness of staff they interact with. It will also provide a measure of satisfaction with the overall experience.
  2. A mystery shop of  ‘turn up and go’ (unbooked assistance) to check compliance, at an industry level, with the obligation to assist passengers who travel without booking ahead.
  3. A survey to measure levels of passengers with disabilities’ awareness of the current Passenger Assist and turn-up-and-go services. This will also investigate any potential barriers to travel for passengers who do not use these services and investigate ways in which information about them could best be presented and disseminated.
  4. A review of train and station operators’ websites to assess the provision and promotion of online assistance information from an accessibility perspective. This will provide a snapshot of how accessible these websites are to passengers with particular disabilities or impairments.

Decision letters

Once we have given our approval to a DPPP, we will publish a decision letter. The letter will summarise any issues that were raised during the approval process, note areas of good practice or highlight areas where we feel a licence holder should particularly seek to improve its practices.

Monitoring

Our regulatory statement on DPPP describes the monitoring arrangements we will be establishing in during 2014/15, this includes the use of a core data set and the information that operators produce to monitor and evaluate their own success in meeting their DPPP standards pdf icon PDF, 304 Kb.

We will also:

  • hold regular meetings with Passenger Focus and London TravelWatch to discuss their views and research;
  • review additional market research relevant to ensuring disabled people can travel confidently on the railways; and
  • on occasion we may require additional information from operators, where possible we intend to rely on the information operators' already produce to monitor and evaluate complaints and their procedures.

A newly licensed operator, or newly awarded franchise, may have limited experience or data on which to develop its DPPP. For this reason, we would expect an operators of a newly approved DPPP to review its effectiveness in providing assistance within a suitable period, to allow for changes in light of experience.

Further information

In January 2014 we commissioned independent research to give us insight into disabled travellers' awareness of the assistance available when travelling by train to inform our work in this area. Links to a summary document, and the full report, can be found below: