Improving Assisted Travel

In 2017 we engaged external agencies to undertake a large-scale programme of consumer research. The research results provided us with a robust evidence base to draw upon in identifying where the arrangements for providing assistance to passengers who request it (‘Assisted Travel’) can be strengthened.

Therefore we launched a consultation in November 2017 to seek views on potential improvements:

  • We asked for views on how passenger awareness of Assisted Travel might be increased.
  • We highlighted the user experience of Assisted Travel and ask what action could be taken to improve the reliability of assistance for passengers.
  • We sought views on how training for company staff could be strengthened.
  • We highlighted how we are strengthening monitoring of Assisted Travel and sought views on how this may be improved further.

The responses to this consultation reinforced the need for improvements, provided a wide range of useful suggestions and confirmed that a comprehensive review of the Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP) guidance, published in 2009 by the Department for Transport, should be carried out.

Alongside the responses themselves, we have published a summary of those responses, and set out the steps we will take to strengthen the arrangements for Assisted Travel, including a review of the 2009 DPPP Guidance.

We have created an advisory group to support work on potential updates to the guidance the rail industry uses to form accessibility policies. The advisory group comprises disability groups and the recently appointed Disability Rail Sector Champion as well as industry bodies such as the Rail Delivery Group, Transport Focus and the Department for Transport. The group will advise on proposals to the changes to accessibility guidelines, due to be published in autumn 2018.

We have also written to licensees, asking them what progress they have made in improving their Assisted Travel services since publication of our research in November 2017 and what immediate steps they plan to make to further strengthen their delivery. We have published this letter and will publish their responses.

Assisted Travel Advisory Group

The advisory group is expected to meet between three and four times in the period May-August 2018  and will provide a forum to inform and provide advice on ORR’s initial work and plans for further public consultation on:

  • revisions to the existing requirements as set out in the DPPP Guidance;
  • proposals  for new requirements to be set out in the DPPP Guidance;
  • the format and structure of DPPPs, including any proposals for change;
  • how improvement to Assisted Travel as discussed in ORR’s recent consultation can be delivered through changes to the DPPP guidance;
  • what further evidence, analysis or engagement may be required to inform both the development of new DPPP guidance or improvement to Assisted Travel more generally.

Assisted Travel Advisory Group - Terms of Reference

Meeting notes

Group Members

  • Fiona Walshe
    Department for Transport
  • David Mapp
    Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee
  • James Taylor
    Disability Charities Consortium
  • Craig O’Beirne
    Rail Delivery Group
  • Stephen Brookes MBE
    Rail Sector Disability Champion
  • Phil Wilks
    Transport Focus
  • Chris Clark
    Transport Scotland
  • Stephen Chamberlain
    Welsh Assembly Government