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ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL POLICY

ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL POLICY

Lumo is your new service between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley, providing regular, cost effective 100% electric train travel as an alternative to flying and is just as time effective.

Welcome to our Accessible Travel Policy, our commitment to delivering a consistent, excellent service, making journeys easy, convenient and accessible for all our customers.

We are committed to ensuring that accessibility is at the forefront of each and every stage of the customer journey. We will ensure that the needs of customers requiring assistance, their companions and assistance dogs, are properly considered in all aspects of the customer journey, enabling them to travel confidently and independently. We also recognise the importance of improving the accessibility of the rail network. We will therefore work with other organisations across our network (including Network Rail and Station Facility Operators) to deliver accessibility improvements to facilities, systems and service delivery. Furthermore, we recognise the importance of implementing robust and customer focused processes that are consistent across the rail network and we will work proactively with stakeholders to achieve this goal.

Our Accessible Travel Policy is complemented by three other documents:

  • Our Accessible Travel Policy Passenger Leaflet: Making Rail Accessible: Helping Older and Disabled Passengers: a summary of practical information about travelling on our services and the wider rail network.
  • Our stations accessibility information: Available on our website at Where We Go
  • Our trains accessibility information: Available on our website at Onboard, providing details of the accessible features on our trains.

You can find these online at www.lumo.co.uk and they are available to download both in standard and accessible formats. Our Accessible Travel Policy Passenger Leaflet is available from any staffed station where we call.

We also offer our Accessible Travel Policy Passenger Leaflet and Accessible Travel Policy Documents in different accessible formats on demand, specifically:

  • Audio
  • Large Print
  • Easy Read
  • Braille
  • British Sign Language videos.

You can ask for a different accessible format by contacting our Customer Experience team or Passenger Assist team. We will respond to your request within seven days.

Our website includes the ReciteMe tool which provides text to speech playback functionality, screen reader functions including style sheets, easy to adjust font sizes and colours, a magnifying glass, ruler, screen mask and browser accessibility functions, as well as dyslexia software, and an interactive dictionary.

We will review and update our Accessible Travel Policy each year, using colleague, stakeholder and your feedback to ensure it is up to date and reflects any changes to our services or to the stations we call at.

A. COMMITMENTS TO PROVIDING ASSISTANCE

A1 BOOKING AND PROVIDING ASSISTANCE

THE PASSENGER ASSIST SYSTEM

We’re committed to providing reliable and easy to access services that allow customers requiring assistance to travel effortlessly. We will arrange any assistance that our customers may require, helping them access any part of our network with confidence using The National Passenger Assist System. The Passenger Assist System is a national system supported by all Train Operating Companies and Station Facility Operators, which allows operators to make necessary arrangements to assist disabled passengers or restricted mobility. We will work with rail industry partners to improve the consistency and reliability of the Passenger Assist service, particularly in relation to journeys that involve more than one operator.

WAYS TO BOOK YOUR ASSISTANCE

Our Passenger Assist team are available 24/7, except Christmas Day.  All our customers can book assistance using any of these dedicated channels:

  • Via our webform: www.railhelp.co.uk/lumo/passenger-assist
  • By the TransReport App (available through the app store)
  • By WhatsApp: 07816 123149 Simply message "Assisted Travel" to this number and our social media team can help with your booking (each day between 0600-2300, excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day)
  • By email: Passengerassistance@lumo.co.uk
  • By phone: 0800 031 8542
  • By text relay: 18001 0800 031 8542

OUR PASSENGER ASSIST TEAM

Our Passenger Assist team are able to book tickets, seats and assistance for you at the same time on our services and on other operators where available.  They will be able to recommend the most appropriate journey to suit your needs (such as fewer changes, longer transfer times, or the quietest time to travel).  We will ensure that we will provide LumoFixed ticket options no less than 24 weeks prior to the departure date of our services and where we are unable to achieve this, we will inform you at the time of booking, so you can choose to contact us at a later date when there is availability. Once everything is arranged for your journey, we will ensure you receive an email confirmation of what has been booked for you. This email will contain our commitments to you, including a booking assistance reference, and a confirmation that we will assist you off the train at your final destination, as quickly as possible. At the train’s terminating station, we will ensure that this is within a maximum of five minutes of the train arriving, wherever reasonably practicable.  


Our Passenger Assist team are available 24/7, except Christmas Day.  To make sure that our colleagues can give you the best service and notify you if there is anything that will affect your journey, we recommend booking assistance at least two hours before your journey.

We ensure the Passenger Assist team is resourced to meet demand for this service by monitoring the volume of requests and response times and adjusting our service provision accordingly. As detailed in section B6 - Colleague Training, our Passenger Assist team receive training that ensures they understand the needs of our customers requiring assistance.  The team have an in-depth knowledge of the accessible facilities and features of our network, enabling them to provide the most appropriate advice for your journey.  They also check station accessibility information for stations outside of those at which we can, and which can be found on the National Rail Enquiries station web pages, as well as advice on connecting modes of transport e.g., bus, tube and trams where these are required.

WHAT IF YOU HAVE NOT BOOKED ASSISTANCE?

If you haven’t booked assistance before your trip the Station Facility Operators colleague and our Customer Experience Ambassadors on board our trains will do their best to assist you. Without a booking, it may not always be possible for us to help you as quickly as you would like, as colleagues may not be available when you need them. We will still do everything we can to assist you onto the train and will inform your destination, and any interchange, station of your assistance needs.  At Morpeth, whilst station colleagues are not present for the full duration of the train service, there are Help Points which can be used to contact the Station Facility Operator who will arrange assistance for you.  At this station it may take a little longer to arrange assistance out of staffed operational hours.

In collaboration with our industry partners, such as Network Rail and other Train Operating Companies, we will identify areas where customers are most at risk of not receiving the appropriate assistance and ensure that mitigations are in place.

ACCESS TO STATIONS

Whilst each of the stations we call at are step-free, at times some features, such as access ramps may not be available or may be more challenging to use.  Whilst booking your assistance with Passenger Assist, our team will be able to recommend journey options and find out what support you need. Where a station is inaccessible to you, we will arrange alternative transport to or from the nearest station that is, at no extra cost.

Similarly, if our team believes there is any risk of you not being provided with sufficient assistance at a particular station, or stage of your journey, they may also provide an alternative journey plan, assistance, or transport to get you to your destination, at no extra cost to you. If you require further information, such as a map of a station, please ask our Passenger Assist team who will be able to assist.

If you need help when you get to an unstaffed station, you can either call the Station Facility Operator’s Passenger Assist team, whose phone number can be found on the Welcome Board at the station, or use the Help Point (where available) and you’ll be able to speak to someone who can help.

When you have boarded the train, our Customer Experience Ambassador, who is on each train and deals with all customer related matters on board our trains, will communicate with colleagues at your destination station, where appropriate, to ensure you are provided with assistance to get off the train. Each station has a dedicated contact for assistance bookings that our colleagues can get in touch with if needed.  There is also a handover protocol between operators that helps ensure you get the assistance you need.


RAMPS TO / FROM OUR TRAINS

We will help wheelchair, mobility aid or mobility scooter users on and off the train with a portable customer assistance ramp, specially designed and tested for the purpose. There are ramps available at each of the stations we serve and we also have ramps available on board our trains.  You can find our restrictions on wheelchairs, mobility scooters and mobility aids in section A5 below

Our colleagues are trained to use customer assistance ramps safely and to support you on and off the train. If you need a customer assistance ramp and have pre-booked assistance, our colleagues will be ready to help you board. If you haven’t booked assistance, please let station colleagues know that you need assistance as soon as you arrive, and they will ensure you get on the train safely. Our Customer Experience Ambassadors are not permitted to lift anyone into or out of a wheelchair, up steps or into a train seat.

WHAT IF YOU HAVE A CONNECTION?

If you have booked assistance with us, we will liaise with other train operators to provide the help you need at interchange stations.  If you are unable to book, our onboard Customer Experience Ambassadors will be able to check the accessibility of the station you need to change at. If it is inaccessible to you (for example not all stations are staffed throughout the day) our colleagues can help you replan your journey. All the stations that our trains call at are staffed, however at Morpeth colleagues are not available 24/7. This might mean we suggest changing trains at a different station or that alternative transport from an accessible station to your destination, is provided. 

We can book the assistance for your entire journey, even if it includes travel on other operators’ services. Our Passenger Assist team will provide enough time during your journey so that you can make your connections.

Sometimes the arrival or departure platform for a train can be changed at short notice. When this happens, the Station Facility Operator’s colleagues can help you get to the new platform as quickly and safely as possible. Information will be updated, as quickly as possible, to help inform all passengers of any change. If there are no colleagues available, please use the Help Points provided.


WHAT IF YOU CONTINUE YOUR JOURNEY ON OTHER TRANSPORT?

Our Customer Experience Ambassadors will provide relevant onward travel information when arriving at destinations. If you require specific information, please ask them for this when they pass through or help you get off the train. They will be able to help you get on or off the train and will ask for assistance from station colleagues for you if this has not already been arranged.

The Station facility Operators colleagues will help you to the relevant bus stop, pick up point, taxi rank or tram stop within the station boundary. They are also able to provide information about local transport, including bus services and taxi companies


STATION FACILITIES AND SERVICES

We will ensure that the information regarding our services is up to date and passengers requiring assistance are aware of any limitations and / or temporary restrictions.  Our Customer Experience Manager is responsible for updating the information relating to the accessibility of our trains provided on the National Rail Enquiries website. Information is also provided on the National Rail Enquiries website regarding station accessibility and details of the times assistance is available at stations, including:

•     Level of accessibility from station entrance to platforms

•     Staffing hours and assistance availability

•     Meeting points for assistance

•     Ramps for train access

•     Accessible waiting rooms, toilets and set down/pick-up points.

For full details please see up-to-date stations facilities section on the National Rail Enquiries website

ALTERATIONS TO FACILITIES

If a facility on board our train is out of order that impacts your ability to travel (such as an accessible toilet), we will do everything we can to fix it and will let you know in advance if the problem persists. This information will be displayed on the station Customer Information Screens, our website in the Journey Check section and via our Twitter channel @lumotravel. Where possible, our Passenger Assist team will pro-actively contact you to help re-arrange your journey if this is necessary. This may not be possible as sometimes these facilities go out of use at short notice while in service. In these situations, the station teams, our Customer Experience Ambassadors, and our Passenger Assist team will work together to provide a solution or inform you before you board the train so you can make an informed decision about your travel.  In addition our Customer Experience Ambassadors are trained to undertake in-transit cleaning and fingertip maintenance with a view to bringing facilities back into service as quickly as possible.

WHAT ABOUT ASSISTANCE WITH YOUR LUGGAGE?

If you’ve booked some help for your journey, the Station Facility Operator’s colleagues can help you around the station with any luggage you have. However, they do not employ colleagues solely to carry customers’ luggage and if you have not booked assistance, station colleagues may have to attend to train safety before they can help you.

Here at Lumo, we understand our customers wish to keep their luggage close by, and that what they are travelling with is important, but depending on the size, this may not always be possible.  We encourage all our customers to travel light for their ease, safety and comfort as space is limited onboard.  We only allow customers to bring with them a maximum of one medium sized suitcase (height 63cm x width 41cm x depth 27cm) and one small bag, rucksack or holdall, that is small enough to fit either on your lap or under the seat in front of you.  You can further find details, on our website at LumoLuggage.

Please be considerate with the amount and weight of luggage you bring with you. Our colleagues and our industry partners’ colleagues must be able to lift the item(s) safely.

Please be aware that we do not accept bulky items or any piece of luggage that cannot be carried or packaged in a suitable manner. Whilst luggage assistance is provided free of charge, if you require assistance with additional bags beyond the limits above, you may wish to book a delivery service with our dedicated partner from FirstLuggage.

Enhance your travel experience by having your luggage delivered to your final station or destination. You can tailor your luggage courier requirements that best suit your needs. We have partnered with FirstLuggage who will provide a door-to-door luggage courier service throughout Great Britain, and many other countries. Their service is chargeable and is bookable with your train ticket from LumoLuggage. The courier option will make your travel experience easier, moving multiple, larger, or heavy luggage items so you don’t have to worry about carrying these around with you. You’ll be able to arrive at your destination, browse around the City shops, relax at your favourite wine bar, or take in the historical sights while you wait for your hotel check-in time. When booked via www.lumoluggage.co.uk, customers will receive a 10% discount, FirstLuggage will then arrange for your luggage to be collected anywhere in the world and delivered to your chosen destination address without hassle or stress.

 

ONBOARD CATERING

You can book from our dedicated catering service, LumoEats, and pre order food in advance of your journey. You’ll be able to enjoy hot or cold items and have them delivered direct to you in the comfort of your seat. This can be booked in advance of your travel. We have partnered with specialist suppliers that can cater for most dietary requirements and have carefully selected seasonal product ranges to suit most needs. Once onboard and after we depart the station, our Customer Experience Ambassadors will commence an at seat trolley service, you’ll be able to purchase a range of hot and cold drinks, snacks and alcoholic refreshments while you sit back and relax watching our entertainment system available through LumoGo. The range of products that we offer is inclusive, sustainable and local, but please bear in mind that our selection varies and maybe subject change. Our on-board trolley menu will be available on the Lumo Website and Lumo GoApp for you to look through before your journey with us.

OUR ONBOARD SEAT POLICY

When you book with our Passenger Assist team, it’s a good idea to book seats or a dedicated wheelchair user space on the train at the same time. If a seat has not been reserved, it will be clearly communicated to you and confirmed in your booking confirmation email.

PRIORITY SEATS AND WHEELCHAIR USER SPACES

All our trains have 52 priority seats which are situated close to the doors, and most can be booked in advance. Two wheelchair user spaces are available on each train, and our on-board colleagues will assist in ensuring these dedicated spaces give wheelchair, mobility aid and scooter users who have booked them priority.

If you don’t book ahead, there are some non-reservable priority seats and there may be wheelchair user spaces you can use. This is on a first come first served basis and our colleagues will do everything they can to make sure you get a seat or a space for your wheelchair, mobility aid or your scooter, whether you’ve booked or not.

If someone else is using the seat or space you booked, let our Customer Experience Ambassadors know. They’ll make sure you get your seat, or a different one, so you can carry on your journey as planned.

We always ask our customers to give up priority seats for people who need them more but it’s not always obvious why someone needs a seat. We are part of the Sunflower Lanyard and Thistle Assistance Card scheme which allows customers with non-visible disabilities to inform others discreetly that they may need assistance. More information on this can be provided by speaking to our Passenger Assist team.

We aim to ensure that disabled customers travelling in family groups or with companions, are booked to sit close together, wherever practicable. On other train operator’s trains that are not reservable, colleagues on the train or at the station will assist you in locating an appropriate seat.

This is the layout of our trains, where you can see the location of the accessible features:

Diagram of HItachi Class 803 five car trains. From Southbound end to Northbound end: Coach A has two tip-up seats, two wheelchair spaces and an accessible toilet, Coach B has a toilet, Coach C, Coach D has a toilet, Coach E has an accessible toilet and unreserved seats.

 

On rare occasions we may use an alternative train to operate our service, but where we do so we will inform you as soon as we know in advance through our website, Social Media, Passenger Assist team and our app. We will ensure that any replacement train has comparable levels of accessibility as our current fleet.

 

ARE ASSISTANCE DOGS ALLOWED?

We’re more than happy to welcome you, and your guide or assistance dog on all our trains. If you book assistance through our Passenger Assist team, they will reserve the seat next to you in seated accommodation, wherever possible, to ensure adequate space for your assistance dog to travel. Our Priority Seats have extra legroom so our Passenger Assist team will book these seats, where available, for you and your dog.

We will make sure that water bowls and stool bags are available on board should they be needed.

FOR OUR PASSENGERS WITH NON-VISIBLE DISABILITIES

We train our colleagues to identify and assist all passengers who may need some help and they all have awareness of the Sunflower Lanyard and the Thistle card schemes.

SUNFLOWER LANYARD

We participate in the Sunflower Lanyard and help card scheme. It’s a project designed to assist customers with non-visible or hidden disabilities.

Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard, or showing people your Sunflower help card discreetly indicates to people around you, including colleagues and health professionals that you may need additional support, help or a little more time.

Supporting the Sunflower scheme is our way of showing customers that we care about everyone that uses our network and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to travel with us. The lanyards and help cards are available free of charge from many station ticket offices For Information please go to the Sunflower Lanyard website.

THISTLE ASSISTANCE CARD

Our colleagues recognise the Thistle Assistance Card scheme, allowing them to provide help to users.  This scheme, developed by SEStran, is available to everyone as a physical card, or on their mobile phone.  You can personalise this card and tailor it to your own needs, helping you inform our colleagues and guide them on how they can be most helpful to you.  For information on how to obtain a card go to their website   

FOR CARERS

 One in eight adults in the U.K. are carers. At Lumo, we understand that travelling can be a stressful moment and our colleagues are trained to support you as well. Our colleagues will do their best to talk to you on board our trains and to be aware of any issues and concerns you may have.

Our colleagues are visible throughout the train and make regular announcements during the journey.

 

PASSENGERS WITH AUTISM 

We have created a special guide to assist you on our trains. These include approximate timings between stations and through tunnels. This is available on our Website.

Our colleagues are trained to recognise and serve all our customers, regardless of their needs. They are mindful that everyone is different and some may need more time than others.

BLIND AND VISION IMPAIRED CUSTOMERS

Our colleagues are trained to assist you regardless of your assistance needs, including if you have a vision impairment. Please let them know if you need extra help and they will make sure they are available to help you.

We have designed our brand and train layout so that those who are colour blind find it easy to use.

Our website follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v2.1 and has been audited by a wide range of users to ensure its usability, as well as seeking Shaw Trust Accreditation. On our website we have a tool that allows you to switch colours so you can benefit from the same experience as all our customers. 

 

 

A2 INFORMATION PROVISION

A2.1 ACCESSIBLE TRAVEL POLICY DOCUMENTATION INCLUDING ALTERNATIVE FORMATS

We will make sure that our Accessible Travel Policy and the Passenger Leaflet are widely available. These will inform you of the services and assistance that we can offer and how to obtain them. In addition to being available on our website to download, the Passenger Leaflet can also be obtained on request at stations we call at. We will work with our local community stakeholders and user groups, such as the Research institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) and the Rail Accessibility & Inclusion Forum for the North (RAIfN), to ensure the leaflet is available in appropriate locations. We will ensure that we place all information about accessing our services in a position that both wheelchair users and standing customers can obtain and access and are happy to provide alternative formats on request.

In order to ensure that our Accessible Travel Policy and our Accessible Travel Passenger Leaflet is written so that it provides the clearest possible information, we will apply for the Crystal Mark of approval for both.

 

 

A2.2 STATIONS AND ROLLING STOCK ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION

We will ensure that accessibility information relating to the stations at which we call and for our trains is readily available to you and kept up to date. To achieve this, we will maintain information in an online format which can be easily accessed via personal mobile devices, as well as in accessible formats. We provide the same information to National Rail Enquiries for their website.


STATIONS ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION

You can find details to help you plan your journey on our website where there is also Station Information on the accessible features at each of the stations we serve. The same information for every station is provided on the National Rail website at www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations This includes a journey planning tool called ‘Stations Made Easy’ which helps you plan your route around a station.

We regularly update information on our website so that you can find out about any disruptions which may affect you. This includes any temporary restrictions, for example, because of building work or when facilities such as lifts and toilets at stations are out of order.

Our teams will work with Station Facility Operators to enable live monitoring of accessible facilities, such as lifts, as technology emerges to support this. You can access this information via our app, website or by talking to a member of our team. If you book assistance via our Passenger Assist team, they will advise you if there are any known disruptions in relation to accessibility.


TRAIN ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION

Our fleet of five Hitachi trains are fully compliant with the Persons of Reduced Mobility – Technical Specification of Interoperability (PRM-TSI) regulations and include two wheelchair user spaces next to an entrance door and an accessible toilet.

You can find diagrams of our trains as part of this document and in our Onboard section on our website. These show the layout and location of the accessible features on board.

 

A2.3 PASSENGER JOURNEY INFORMATION (ONLINE, AT STATIONS, ON TRAINS)

We know that some customers don’t travel frequently and may not know where or how to access important information, particularly during times of service disruption. This section explains how we will communicate accurate, clear and consistent information to all.


AT THE STATION

TRAIN DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS

Stations we serve have a combination of Customer Information Screens and automated Public Address information providing accurate, clear and consistent aural and visual information.

At stations we serve, a train’s departure platform will sometimes need to be changed at short notice. The platform number will flash on the information screen to indicate that it has changed and similar information will be announced over the Public Address system as soon as practicable.

When a change occurs at staffed stations, where possible, the station operator’s colleagues will provide assistance and information to help you reach the revised departure platform, if accessible to you, as efficiently as possible.

In the event the platform is not accessible to you, the Station Facility Operator’s colleagues will discuss options with you and can arrange alternative transport, for example a taxi, to the nearest station accessible to you, so that you can continue your journey.

At all the stations we serve, except Stevenage (where there are colleagues available 24 hours a day seven days a week), accessible Help Points are in place to enable you to speak with a colleague of the Station Facility Operator’s team who will provide any information, on behalf of ourselves, you require for your journey. Some also have Ticket Vending Machines or Help Points which can provide information.

If you have trouble reading the information screens or hearing the announcements, please let a colleague know. They can tell you if you need to be on a different platform and help you get there safely if you need some support.

 

CONNECTIONS AND WAYFINDING

Stations we serve have posters displaying information about the station, facilities and accessibility information. The posters include a station map, the contact details of the Station Facility Operators Passenger Assist team and information about other operators who use the station. Signage is generally provided, directing customers to platforms and key facilities such as accessible toilets where available.

Our colleagues and station colleagues will provide you with information on how to make connections with other modes of transport both prior to your journey and when travelling on our trains and through stations.

When booking through our Passenger Assist team, they will be able to inform you of the inward and onward accessible journey options.

 

DELAYS AND DISRUPTION

When you have assistance booked on our services and we know that the journey is no longer viable due to engineering works, industrial action, or severe weather for instance, our Passenger Assist team will contact you to discuss your journey and make alternative arrangements or provide a refund if you choose not to travel. Where a potential issue is identified with less than 24 hours’ notice and we were not able to contact you, station colleagues will inform you when you arrive and discuss alternative arrangements with you. Details of how to claim Delay Repay compensation can be found on our website.

Our Customer Experience Ambassadors are trained to recognise and help customers who may need assistance. They will communicate news of any service disruption and provision of alternative transport via the Passenger Information Systems or, where possible, in person. The provision of Help Points, at some of the stations we serve, give a link to assistance teams 24 hours seven days a week (except Christmas Day) who will also be able to assist you in re-planning your journey on our behalf.

 

ON THE TRAIN

Our trains have Public Address equipment and a visual display in each carriage showing the train’s destination and the next stop.

Our on-board colleagues are trained to provide timely, helpful and clear announcements.  The announcements will be made to provide sufficient time for customers, especially those with reduced mobility, to prepare to alight at least two minutes before arriving at each station.

Our team will make announcements about any alterations to the normal service, including delays. If you have hearing impairments, please advise our colleagues on board at the earliest opportunity.

We also have posters available throughout our trains that can give further advice and information.


A2.4 INFORMATION AND MEETING POINTS, HELP POINTS AND CONTACT CENTRES

INFORMATION POINTS

Information Points can be found in most of the stations we serve. They are located in key areas in the station, for example the concourse or in waiting rooms. Signage is provided to direct you, where these are not immediately obvious. Where stations do not have an information point, the ticket office will provide this service during hours of operation.

Station information points are generally staffed to the same times as the station’s ticket offices and can provide you with information about:

  • Station facilities.
  • Train services, including timetables, connections, fares and the accessibility of trains.
  • Delays, disruptions, diversions or emergencies taking place along the route which may affect your journey.
  • Confirm your Passenger Assist arrangements.

They can also help with any other general enquiries you may have.

 

MEETING POINTS

There are designated Meeting Points at each of the stations at which we call. These are designed to give you a location to wait at for a colleague to meet you where you have prebooked assistance and do not require assistance from another form of transport.

The location of the meeting point is clearly signposted at each station and you will be informed of this as part of any assistance booking that is made. Further information on meeting points can also be found on the National Rail Enquiries website


Station

Station Operator

Telephone

Website

Edinburgh

Network Rail

03457 114141

networkrail.co.uk

Morpeth

Northern

0800 200 6060

northernrailway.co.uk

Newcastle

London North Eastern Railway

03457 225 333

lner.co.uk

Stevenage

Great Northern

0345 026 4700

greatnorthernrail.com

London King’s Cross  Network Rail  03457 114141  networkrail.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 


HELP POINTS

Help Points are available at most of the stations we serve, with the exception of Stevenage. However, this station is staffed 24 hours seven days a week. Colleagues on duty will be able to help you with local information, train running details, assistance requests and information related to other operators and stations. Help Points can also be used for emergency call.

All Help Points feature audio frequency induction loops for hearing aid users and feature buttons of different sizes so that they are accessible for vision impaired customers.

 

A2.5 OUR WEBSITE  

Our website www.lumo.co.uk has been created with all our customers in mind. We are following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v2.1 and have audited it with a group of users with various accessibility needs.  We have also applied for Shaw Trust Accreditation.

Our website includes the ReciteMe tool which provides text to speech playback functionality, screen reader functions including style sheets, easy to adjust font sizes and colours, a magnifying glass, ruler, screen mask and browser accessibility functions, as well as dyslexia software, and an interactive dictionary. Our website also includes a functionality to change the colours so they can meet your needs.

To help you find the information you need, we also provide a homepage link to our Passenger Assist page, which explains the Passenger Assist service in a clear and concise manner. We use plain English and avoid the use of industry jargon. It provides the necessary contact information and provisions for you to book assistance and purchase a ticket to travel (including details of any national discounts available to disabled passengers or persons with reduced mobility). There is also a link to enable you to access the ‘Making Rail Accessible’ customer leaflet and details of how to obtain it in accessible formats. Furthermore, we provide guidance on how you can give feedback or make a complaint, and we include information on the availability of redress for when assistance has not been delivered as booked. Where other information is located elsewhere, we provide a connecting hyperlink on the Passenger Assist page.

 

QUESTIONS OR FEEDBACK ABOUT OUR WEBSITE

We are always open to receiving feedback about our website, and any suggestions you have to improve its accessibility or usability. If you’d like to give us feedback, or ask a question, here’s how to get in touch with our Customer Experience team:

  • Via our webform: www.railhelp.co.uk/lumo/passenger-assist
  • By WhatsApp: 07816 123149. Simply message "Assisted Travel" to this number and our social media team can help with your booking (each day between 0600-2300, excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day)
  • By email: Passengerassistance@lumo.co.uk
  • By phone: 0800 031 8542
  • By text relay: 18001 0800 031 8542

 

A3 TICKETING AND FARES

We know that rail fares can be complex and to help you make the best choice when you travel, we have minimised the different types of fares that will be sold to you. We will only offer an Anytime Day Single and our LumoFixed Fares. Other products sold by our competitors such as the Any Permitted Anytime, Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak will still be accepted on our services.

BUYING A TICKET

You can buy tickets on our website, app, by phoning our Passenger Assist team, from the ticket office at staffed stations, on board our trains or from self-service Ticket Vending Machines. Some types of tickets, like LumoFixed tickets are not available from Ticket Vending Machines.

We are committed to providing you with impartial and accurate ticketing information and advice about the best ticket options for you, irrespective of which train operator provides the service you wish to use.

Where it is difficult for you to purchase a ticket before you travel, you will be able to buy tickets on-board the train or at your destination. You will still receive any fare reductions that you are entitled to, and no penalties for ticketless travel will be applied.

RAILCARDS

Railcards are available for purchase on railcard.co.uk , at ticket offices and through our website. They are not only available as a physical card but also electronically on your mobile phone.

 

DISABLED PERSONS RAILCARD

A Disabled Persons Railcard is available to people with one or more of a range of disabilities. They are valid for either one or three years and give you and one companion discounts on all Standard and First-Class tickets throughout the National Rail network in Great Britain. A one-year Railcard costs £20 and a three-year Railcard cost £54.

If you have one, you’ll receive a discount of a third off your travel when you buy your tickets online or at a Ticket Vending Machine. At the ticket office, you just need to show your Railcard when you buy tickets. You also need to carry your Railcard with you when you travel and present it when your tickets are checked. The same discount is available for one carer/companion.

If you don’t already have a Disabled Persons Railcard, you can find out more and apply for one by going online, by calling National Rail Enquiries on 0345 748 4950 or 0345 605 0600 (minicom for those with hearing impairments), or by picking up a leaflet from you’re a station ticket office. You will need to supply proof of disability as part of your application.

 

SENIOR RAILCARD

Senior Railcards are available to anyone aged 60 and over. They are valid for either one year or three years and give you up to a third off most Standard and First-Class tickets across the National rail network in Great Britain (time restrictions may apply). A one-year Railcard costs £30 and a three-year Railcard cost £70.

If you have one, you’ll receive a third off your travel when you buy your tickets online, at a ticket office or a Ticket Vending Machine. At the ticket office, you just need to show your Railcard when you buy a ticket. You also need to carry your Railcard with you when you travel and present it when your tickets are checked.

If you don’t already have a Senior Railcard, you can find out more and apply for one by going online, by calling National Rail Enquiries on 0345 748 4950 or 0345 605 0600 (minicom for those with hearing impairments), or by picking up a leaflet from a station ticket office.

 

VETRANS RAILCARD

A Veterans Railcard is available provided you have served for at least one day or more in her Majesty’s Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve). Merchant Mariners who have seen duty on legally defined military operations are also eligible. They are valid for either one or three years and giving you and one companion discounts. A one-year Railcard costs £30 and a three-year Railcard cost £70.

If you have one, you’ll receive a third off your travel when you buy your tickets online at www.lumo.co.uk 

You will need to carry your Railcard with you when you travel and present it when your tickets are checked. You can find out more and apply for one by going online, by calling National Rail Enquiries on 0345 748 4950 or 0345 605 0600 (minicom for those with hearing impairments), or by picking up a leaflet from a station ticket office. You will need to supply proof of your eligibility as part of your application.

 

OTHER RAILCARDS

Other Railcards are available for purchase, more information can be found on www.railcard.co.uk.

 

IF YOU DON'T HAVE A RAILCARD

In some cases, discounts are also available without a Railcard. If you have a visual impairment or are a wheelchair user, you are entitled to the concessions detailed below. Please be aware that these cannot be purchased from the Ticket Vending Machines and should be purchased from the ticket offices. If there is no ticket office at the station where you board, you may pay the concessionary fare, without penalty, during the journey or at your destination.

BLIND OR VISION-IMPAIRED CUSTOMERS TRAVELLING WITH A COMPANION

If you are registered as blind or vision-impaired and you are travelling with another person, the concessionary discounts below apply to adult fares for both you and your companion. You cannot get a discount if you are travelling on your own unless you have a Railcard. To obtain the discounts detailed below you must show a document confirming your disability when you buy your ticket and when travelling. It must be either a CVI/BP1/BD8 certificate or documentation from a recognised institution, for example, Social Services, your Local Authority, RNIB, or Blind Veterans UK.

 

PEOPLE WHO STAY IN THEIR OWN WHEELCHAIR FOR A RAIL JOURNEY

If you need to stay in your own wheelchair during a journey and you do not have a Railcard, you are eligible for the concessionary discounts below on both adult and child fares. The discounts below apply if you are travelling alone and are available to one adult travelling with you.

 

CONCESSIONARY FARE DISCOUNTS

Ticket Type (First or Standard Class)

Discount

Anytime Single or Return

a third off

Anytime Day Single

a third off

Anytime Day Return

50% off

In many cases, Advance tickets may cost less than the discounted Anytime Fare. Ticket office or on-board colleagues will make you aware if there is a cheaper fare available.

We will only offer Anytime Day Single as the walk-up product, in addition to our Lumo Fixed fares. However, we still accept Any-Permitted Anytime, Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak products.

TICKET MACHINES

Self-service Ticket Vending Machines can issue reduced-rate tickets to holders of a Disabled Persons Railcard and their companions as well as holders of Senior Railcards. Ticket Vending Machines are designed to be accessible.

Some stations on the railway network also have ‘ticket collection only’ Ticket Vending Machines to allow tickets bought in advance to be easily collected. There are ticket machines which allow for both the selling and collection of tickets, at every station we call at.

 

AUTOMATIC TICKET GATES

Where there are Automatic Ticket Gates in operation, there will be at least one wide aisle gate available. When the Automatic Ticket Gates are operational, there will always be a station colleague on hand to help you use them. Station Facility Operators will ensure that these are locked open when the station is unstaffed, or when colleagues are not in attendance.

PURCHASE OF LUMOFIXED TICKETS

Where LumoFixed tickets are available for purchase, you are advised to check that the required facilities (for example, accessibility of the train type, availability of wheelchair user space) are available before purchasing tickets. We recommend that you contact our Passenger Assist team who will be able to answer your questions.

 

A4 ALTERNATIVE ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT

We will ensure you can make as much of your journey by rail as possible, but the accessibility of stations at which our services call and across the rail network in general can vary.

The stations we call at are step free, but if there is a physical feature at any of the stations which prohibits or restricts your ability to access, we will provide alternative transport to a convenient accessible station at no extra cost, from where you can continue your journey by rail. This can be arranged by us when you book assistance, and we will discuss with you the type of alternative transport you require so that we can make sure that the vehicle provided meets your needs.

When we are unable to run our services, our aim is to keep you moving. Twelve weeks before major planned engineering works, we take appropriate steps to assess the requirement for accessible transport and alternative accessible vehicles for use as substitute transport and where necessary, procure the use of such vehicles.

If a bus or coach service is required to replace a particular train, we expect our contracted supplier to provide step-free options (which meet Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) standards) wherever possible. We will only allow the use of vehicles that do not provide step-free access when all other options have been exhausted. In such cases, we will seek special authorisation to do so. Our contracted bus and coach suppliers receive disability awareness training as part of the driver’s initial training and ongoing as part of their Certificate of Professional Competence training. Our suppliers are required to provide PSVAR compliant vehicles, and we will review our contracts annually to consider changes in the availability of such vehicles.

If a customer’s accessibility requirements are not met by the provisioned rail replacement service, we will arrange an accessible taxi for them instead. We can book these from a range of firms, and we will make sure the colleagues at the station you’re going to know you’re coming in a taxi, so they are expecting you when you arrive. For planned disruption, such as engineering works, we will advertise on our website if our rail replacement coach or bus is accessible and if not, what alternative is available.

If you haven’t booked assistance in advance, you should let the Station Facility Operator’s colleagues know as soon as you arrive and they will book one for you, but we cannot guarantee there will be one available right away.

 

A5 SCOOTERS AND MOBILITY AIDS

MOBILITY AIDS
Mobility Aids may be carried on board our services.  We recommend contacting our Passenger Assist team who will be able to arrange assistance for you when getting on or off the train. and to assist you to your seat.  Where your journey starts or ends or a transfer is needed at a larger station, it may be best to make use of a station wheelchair or buggy.  Our Passenger Assist team can assist you with making suitable arrangements.

If you use a Mobility Aid, we recommend that you make use of the priority seating which is available throughout the train.  If it is foldable, just speak to our Customer Experience Ambassadors and they will help you store it. 

 

WHEELCHAIRS

All our trains accommodate manual or powered wheelchairs that:

  • Are no more than 700mm wide
  • Are no more than 1200mm long (including the footplate)
  • Weigh 300kg or less (including the weight of the customer)

 

When you’re using a wheelchair on the platform, do not exceed speeds of 4mph. Also, please stay behind the yellow line where present until it’s time to board and secure the wheelchair brake when you don’t need to move. Once you’re on board you can use the wheelchair user space or you can sit in a seat in the carriage.

 

HANDCYCLES

You are welcome to bring your hand-cycle on board.  If it is foldable, just speak to our Customer Experience Ambassadors and they will help you store it.  If not, we strongly recommend pre booking a wheelchair space, we just ask that you are confident you can fit it into our wheelchair spaces.  Please note, you may need to detach the bike to enable yourself to board, depending on the platform width.

 

MOBILITY SCOOTERS

We understand that scooters are essential for many people, so we do accept these on board, accommodating customers in the wheelchair user spaces on our trains on a first come, first served basis.  There are some restrictions though, so if you use a wheelchair or a mobility scooter, we’re happy for you to travel with it on our trains but, there are a few things you need to know.

Your safety and the safety of our other customers and colleagues is our top priority.

If your scooter fits within the dimensions below and has a combined weight of less than 300kg when you are riding it, it can be taken onto all of our trains.

Three Wheel Mobility Scooter

Length: 120cm

Width: 70cm

Four Wheel Mobility Scooter

Length: 110cm

Width: 55cm

 

The difference in size acceptance between a three and four wheeled scooter is due to the turning circle required on board our trains. 

These dimensions have been informed by the Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI) for wheelchairs and risk assessments.  The weight limit is determined by the maximum allowed weight on the ramp between the platform and the train.

For your safety, we will ask you to transfer from your scooter to a seat whilst travelling.  This is also recommended by scooter manufacturers.  

If you have a scooter which is folded and carried as luggage it can be taken on any of our trains, however if it cannot be folded, it will need to comply with the dimensions detailed above.  You will not be allowed to take it onboard if it doesn’t.  You may wish to consider requesting a station wheelchair to help you when travelling instead.

If you are travelling with a scooter, we recommend contacting our Passenger Assist team who will be able to arrange assistance for you when getting on or off the train.

Remember that when making a journey that involves more than one train company you may find that each operator’s policy relating to scooters varies.  Our Passenger Assist team will be able to help by both booking assistance and advising you on each operator’s policy on scooter carriage.

Full details of our trains, with diagrams illustrating the layout and the location of facilities and features of relevance to disabled passengers, are shown on our website at www.lumo.co.uk  

When you’re using a mobility scooter on the platform, please don’t go over four Miles Per Hour (MPH). Also, please stay behind the yellow line where present until it’s time to board.

Please take any luggage off your scooter before the train arrives, so it won’t affect the balance if you use the ramp. Our colleagues can help you take the luggage on to the train.  Once you’ve got your scooter on board and safely stored in the wheelchair user space, please sit in a seat on the train if you can, so you can travel more safely. Please also follow any advice our colleagues give you to make your journey safe and comfortable.

Please also note that Lumo colleagues are unable to lift or physically manoeuvre the scooter. It is your responsibility to ensure that you can control your scooter and that you can board and alight the train safely. Although we can book assistance on other train companies’ services, their scooter policies may differ, including the requirements for scooter permits. We can advise you of these requirements or provide contact details for the relevant train company to ensure your scooter is permitted. This should be done prior to making your journey if you intend to travel with another train operating company.

We proactively participate in the development of a nationwide policy for the carriage of scooters on trains across the rail network which seeks to introduce a consistent approach to scooters on trains, enabling customers to easily undertake journeys involving multiple train operator services.

 

 

A6 DELAYS, DISRUPTION AND EMERGENCIES

We understand that disruption to services and facilities can cause difficulties for customers requiring assistance. We are committed to improving the management of service disruption for all customers, including providing alternative transport and improved information.

When services are disrupted, we will do everything possible to ensure that our disabled customers and those with impaired mobility are able to continue with their journeys, proactively taking your needs into account in both our contingency plans and the service we provide on the day.

IN ADVANCE OF TRAVEL

When you plan your travel, our Passenger Assist team will be able to advise you of any planned engineering works or amended train operations that might affect your journey. They will advise you of the best options.

DURING YOUR JOURNEY

Announcements are made at stations to update customers during disruptions. Customer Information Screens are also updated with the latest travel information and you can use Help Points provided at stations to request more information. Severe disruption will also be communicated in the form of banners across the top of rail websites such as our website and www.nationalrail.co.uk .

If disruption occurs before the train has left the station, we normally offer the next available service if appropriate, (regardless of the operator) and the station team will help you to rearrange your booked assistance.

If platform alterations occur at short notice, the station operator’s colleagues, where available, will be able to assist you to the correct platform. They will also:

  • Update Customer Information Screens at the station and make additional announcements.
  • Seek to identify customers with disabilities and provide any assistance you need.
  • Try to give sufficient time to allow you to board the re-platformed train.

Where facilities that affect disabled travellers are out of use e.g., accessible toilets, we will try to advise you of this before you join the train by displaying the information on our website, app and on the National Rail Enquires website and app. We’ll also use the station Customer Information Screens, and our Customer Experience Ambassadors will inform those who might need an accessible toilet before they board. We will also report the fault to our maintenance teams so that it can be fixed quickly. Our on-board colleagues will proactively go through the train to clean as they go and identify any issues that need to be reported to maintenance colleagues.

Where replacement transport is in operation we will provide, where possible, visual information on our information screens, automatic announcements or manual announcements to direct you to alternative transport.

If service disruption occurs whilst you are on the train our colleagues will be able to advise and assist you. Customer Experience Ambassadors on each of our trains have the details of all customers who have booked assistance. If you haven’t booked assistance in advance but require help or advice, make yourself known to a member of the team. All on board colleagues are encouraged to provide the highest levels of customer service and empowered to resolve appropriate issues on the spot. If a train terminates before it has arrived at its destination, our on- board colleagues will arrange assistance for you for your onward travel.

If you need to change your journey due to service disruption, our colleagues will assist you in arranging your revised journey and any assistance you require. If you have booked assistance, we will also inform other Train Operating Companies and Station Facility Operators about the changes to your journey, so they can still provide the assistance you need. If we are not able to run train services at all and you wish to travel on a different day, we will help you to make a new booking. We will also arrange accessible transport to take you back to the station where you started your journey if this is more convenient.

If services are going to be disrupted for a longer period, or if we are aware more than 24 hours before you travel that there is going to be a problem, our Passenger Assist team will call or email customers who have booked assistance using Passenger Assist, and who will be affected by the disruption to make them aware of the changes and provide advice, including helping them make new arrangements where appropriate.

 

EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

Keeping you safe is our priority. Our emergency plans for trains include how to support people with a disability or who may be less mobile during an emergency. All our colleagues are trained in emergency procedures and they will supervise any action that needs to be taken. Safety information is provided on all our trains with clear diagrams and pictures, and in the rare event of an emergency on a train, our On-Board team will advise and help you. In nearly all cases the safest option is for all customers to remain on the train and wait for instructions until our team have fully assessed the situation. If you do have to leave the train between stations, the emergency services will provide equipment and help you get off the train safely.

Every station has a Local Station Emergency Plan detailing evacuation routes for all passengers, stating whether the route is suitable for wheelchair user access. If you are a wheelchair user and you are in an area where no safe evacuation route exists, a place of safety will have been pre-identified for you (accompanied by a colleague at staffed stations) to await rescue by a member of the emergency services. All local station emergency plans are shared with the local emergency services.

 


A7 STATION FACILITIES


Whilst we do not operate any of the stations our trains serve, we are committed to working with Station Facility Operators to ensure that the information regarding station facilities and services is up to date and customers requiring assistance are aware of any limitations and/or temporary changes or restrictions.

 

A7.1 LEFT LUGGAGE

Both London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley have left luggage facilities, details of which can be found below:

Station

Operator

Location

Opening Hours

Contact Phone/Web

Edinburgh Waverley

Excess Baggage Company

Platform two near the Carlton Road entrance

Mon – Sun 09:00 – 17:30

0330 024 0215

London King’s Cross

Excess Baggage Company

Main concourse

Mon - Sun 09:00 – 17:30

0330 024 0215

 

LOST PROPERTY

All the stations we call at have a lost property service, details of which are provided below:

Station

Operator

Location

Opening Hours

Contact Phone/Web

Edinburgh Waverley

Excess Baggage Company

Platform two near the Carlton Road entrance

Mon – Sun 09:00 – 17:30

0330 024 0215

Morpeth

Northern

Ticket office

 

Mon – Sun 07:00 – 22:00

0800 200 6060

 

Newcastle

London North Eastern Railway

Main concourse

 

Mon – Sat 06:15 – 21:00

01163 663 587

Stevenage

Great Northern

Ticket office

 

Mon – Sun 07:00 – 22:00

 

 

London King’s Cross

Excess Baggage Company

Main concourse

Mon-Sun 09:00 – 17:30

0330 024 0215

 

You can tailor your luggage courier requirements that best suit your needs. We have partnered with FirstLuggage who will provide a door-to-door luggage courier service Lumo Luggage. The courier option will make your travel experience easier, moving multiple, larger, or heavy luggage items so you don’t have to worry about carrying these around with you.


A7.2 BLUE BADGE PARKING


Car parking facilities are available at all stations across our network. At most stations there is a charge for long stay parking, and this may apply to blue badge parking bays also. Some of the stations also have a drop off area. Information about car parks at the stations we serve can be found at the station operator’s website or on www.nationalrail.co.uk. Many larger stations have a tarmac or concrete surfaced car park, with designated parking spaces available for Blue Badge holders marked by the International Symbol for Access.

Station Facility Operators are responsible for the ongoing monitoring of the use of designated blue badge parking bays in station car parks to ensure that motorists without ‘blue badges’ are not using the designated blue badge parking bays.

We will liaise with Station Facility Operators at least annually, to review the demand to ensure that sufficient disabled car parking spaces are available.

 

A7.3 THIRD PARTY PROVIDED FACILITIES

Where services or facilities are provided by third parties, we will work with them to ensure that these operators are aware of the needs of our disabled customers. As service providers they will have their own obligations under the Equality Act 2010, but we will monitor the service they provide, share any feedback we receive and work together to improve the accessibility of facilities and services, including highlighting to them any deficiencies that have been brought to our attention.

A7.4 REPLACEMENT FACILITIES

When advertised facilities and services are not available at a station we serve and or on board our trains, we will make every effort to provide alternative facilities. Should the facilities on which you rely for your journey become temporarily unavailable on a train or at a station, we will work with our industry partners to ensure information systems are updated within 24 hours of notification of a problem and provide an estimated time for when the facility will be functioning again.

If we have your contact details our Passenger Assist team will endeavour to contact you by email, telephone or text relay, this includes:

  • Where stations you were due to use have a physical constraint preventing use by some disabled people.
  • Where significant temporary work affects station accessibility.
  • Where changes to stations make them temporarily inaccessible (e.g. lifts or station toilets out of order).
  • Where changes to train facilities materially affect disabled customers – e.g. the temporary use of inaccessible trains – where reasonably practicable to do so.
  • Emergency engineering work.
STATION ENTRANCES

From time-to-time Station Facility Operators may need to temporarily restrict access to stations, for example, due to improvement work. If this happens, we will work closely with Station Facility Operators to ensure the needs of customers requiring assistance are considered and will provide adequate information and a suitable alternative if necessary.

 

A8 REDRESS

Our teams work hard to provide you with the help and assistance you need to be able to complete your journey with ease, however we recognise that sometimes, things do not go as planned.  If the assistance you have booked is not provided or does not meet your requirements, please let a colleague or the Passenger Assist team know at the time so that we can resolve the issue.  If you need to provide feedback after travelling, please contact our Passenger Assist team or our Customer Experience team. Contact details can be found in section A1 of this policy.  Where things have not gone as planned, we will use feedback provided to improve how we work and the approach of others who provide the assistance service on our behalf.

When you have booked assistance and it has not been delivered you will be eligible for compensation for your journey. When your assistance was booked for travel on one of our trains, we will provide both the compensation and a response. You can claim this by contacting our Passenger Assist team. If you were travelling on another train company’s service for all or part of your journey, you can choose to complain to them directly, or we can liaise with them on your behalf.  If you are requesting Passenger Assist redress following an issue, you will need to provide a copy of your train tickets, along with your Passenger Assistance reference number, which can be found on your confirmation email.

Where assistance has not been provided due to a delay, and both Delay Repay and Passenger Assist redress could apply, you will be entitled to compensation for both issues, up to a combined value of your purchased ticket for that journey.

If you have experienced other issues with assistance which have not caused delay, please let us know, providing your Passenger Assistance reference number where available, and we will consider compensation on a case-by-case basis.

 

ESCALATION

Please give us the opportunity to try to resolve your complaint. If you’re unhappy with the response you receive, you have the right to appeal to the Rail Ombudsman.

The Rail Ombudsman is there to help resolve complaints between us and our customers. It’s free to use their services and they are independent of the rail industry. They don’t take sides, but just look at the evidence available. They will help us both to try to reach an agreement, but if this doesn’t happen, they will decide based on the evidence they’ve received. If you agree with their decision, then we must act on what they say.

You can appeal to the Rail Ombudsman if:

  • You’re unhappy with our final response to your complaint which will be contained in a letter or email (sometimes called a ‘deadlock letter’) or
  • We haven’t resolved your complaint within 40 working days of receiving it.
  • No more than 12 months have passed since we sent you our final response.

There are some complaints that the Rail Ombudsman won’t be able to investigate, for example if it’s about the way one of our services has been designed or it is about industry policy. If that’s the case, then they’ll contact you to let you know. If possible, they will transfer your complaint to another organisation that may be able to help you further, such as Transport Focus, the independent consumer watchdog for the rail industry or London Travel Watch if your journey was to or from London. They will independently review your complaint and where appropriate, follow things up on your behalf.

On-line chat: www.railombudsman.org

Twitter: @RailOmbudsman

E-mail: enquiries@railombudsman.org

Telephone: 0330 094 0362

Textphone: 0330 094 0363

Rail Ombudsman Post: FREEPOST RAIL OMBUDSMAN

 

B. STRATEGY AND MANAGEMENT

B1 STRATEGY

We are aiming to reimagine the rail experience, boosted with innovative solutions that are inclusive and focused on all our customers. Accessibility and Inclusion are core to our values, and we will support you if you require assistance with a dedicated, collaborative team. We have an agile business model which allows us to deliver excellent customer service to all by learning from passenger experiences and then implementing the required improvements.

We recognise the importance of providing consistency in approach and service provision across the rail network and we will proactively work with industry partners, such as Transport Focus, London TravelWatch and the Rail Ombudsman to deliver incremental and continuous improvement, engaging with customers and user groups.

We draw on our relationship with other FirstGroup rail companies and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to develop and enhance the accessibility of the rail network. We take part in regular best practice sharing meetings hosted by FirstGroup and make sure that we learn from the experience of our sister companies. We also take note of ongoing research from our partners and assess how best to approach any recommendations.

We also work with Accessibility Influencers to promote accessible travel and in order to gain further insights in to support our customers when travelling with us.

With regards to specific initiatives we are working on to deliver, these include:

  • The Hitachi Fleet: We have invested over £100 million in brand new trains. These trains offer high capacity, accessible seating, and an at-seat trolley service. They are fully electric, so are quieter, smoother and more reliable as there’s less to maintain than conventional diesel trains.
  • Shorter Passenger Assist notice period: investment in the TransReport App and our fleet of trains enables us to reduce our recommended notice period for booking Passenger Assist journeys.
  • Research Institute for Disabled Customers (RiDC): Using their expertise to review our app, website, policy documents and passenger leaflet, as well as carrying out mystery passenger journeys for us and providing customer insights from their bespoke consumer panel.
  • Purple Tuesday Campaign: Supporting this campaign to raise awareness of disability issues and the work that we are doing to make everyday rail travel easier and more accessible for disabled customers. This includes the sunflower lanyard scheme, our dedicated disability and equality training and digital usability testing of our website.

B2 MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

Our Customer Experience and Commercial Director is accountable for the development, delivery and success of our customer experience strategy. They oversee the development and implementation of our accessibility plans which are managed through robust business planning, project management and customer service delivery processes.

We will regularly engage with customer groups and charities to stimulate further suggestions for improvement that we can bring to our services, to make them even more accessible.

We ensure that every member of our team understands their responsibilities in relation to improving the travel experience of our customers requiring assistance. Training programmes, online learning modules, internal briefing and communications such as newsletters, employee online information and apps all help ensure that accessibility and inclusion form a central pillar of our core values. This further reinforces how important it is for the needs of people with disabilities to be considered in all aspects of our business.

Our Customer Experience Manager and our Customer Experience Ambassadors ensure all aspects of our Accessible Travel Policy, including the Joint Code of Practice are delivered consistently and reliably across all aspects of the customer journey, partnered by our Engineering team in relation to the quality of our trains.

We work with our Customer Contact provider and our Communications and Marketing colleagues to ensure that information and communication is provided in the most accessible way.

 

B3 MONITORING AND EVALUATION

We closely monitor the delivery of all aspects of our Accessible Travel Policy and processes. This includes tracking compliance with this policy, legislative requirements and industry guidelines, as well as measuring our performance against our goals and targets in relation to accessibility, with particular focus on feedback from our customers. The results will inform and prioritise our efforts to deliver improvement in relation to accessible travel.

Our approach will include monitoring and evaluating:

  • Response times in relation to Passenger Assist bookings on all channels.
  • Any failure to provide booked assistance.
  • The volume of booked assistance requests.
  • The volume of turn up and go requests.
  • Availability of accessible features e.g. accessible toilets etc.
  • The delivery of improvement plans to their projected timescales.
  • Customer complaints received in relation to any aspect of accessibility.
  • The quality of the assistance provided by our colleagues and other parties, sharing insights through our One Team approach at stations.
  • The availability of step-free facilities at each station we serve.

We will evaluate results every four weeks and carry out an in-depth annual review. We will share information and the results of our evaluation across industry forums such as RDG and with the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), fully complying with the ORR’s Core Data reporting requirements including providing the ORR with details of any key actions to improve performance.

We will measure customer satisfaction in relation to our accessible services, to inform improvement and identify best practice, using:

  • Mystery passenger journey exercises, where an auditor will be tasked to evaluate our colleagues’ provision of assistance
  • Feedback to our Passenger Assist team: as standard we will ask customers who use our Passenger Assist service to provide feedback and suggestions
  • Feedback from charities, stakeholders and other organisations

Delivering continuous improvement is central to our business approach. All results will be collated into our monthly Customer Experience Report and shared across the business as appropriate to inform improvement strategies.

 

B4 ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS

We comply with the PRM-TSI, National Technical Specification Notices and the Joint Code of Practice when developing proposals for improvement across our business. If compliance is not possible, we will apply for any necessary derogations but only after every effort has been made to comply with the relevant requirements.

 

INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE

We work closely with the Rail Delivery Group to support the improvement of the Passenger Assist system, providing an easy to use and reliable assisted travel booking service enhancing clear and direct communication between customers and our teams providing Passenger Assist.

We use the RDG’s accessibility application programming interface when it becomes available to enable customers to book Passenger Assistance using voice based smart home assistant technology.

We’re always looking for ways to improve our website. We will conduct an annual audit of the accessibility of our website and consult with users and our accessibility to identify further areas for improvement.

Our website and app comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v 2.1 and we are currently seeing accreditation from the Shaw Trust

 

ON TRAINS

Our trains are brand new and follow the latest guidance and regulations for accessibility provision, but we recognise it is essential to listen to your feedback and act upon it wherever possible.

All our trains have CCTV cameras in each coach and CCTV recordings are kept so they can be used for internal and external security measures. Signage and our colleagues will remind customers that CCTV is in operation throughout the journey, so you feel reassured that this security feature is available.

STATIONS

All the stations at which we call are step free. We will however continue to work with station operators, providing support and funding, where we feel it is appropriate, to enhance accessibility at stations.

 

COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING

Our internal Accessibility Advocates are tasked with ensuring all our corporate communications and customer touchpoints are delivered in the most accessible way, including for those customers with visual or hearing impairments. These may include timetables, leaflets and posters, press releases, advertising, information on our website or Social Media or information we provide to third parties such as the National Rail Enquiries website. They will also ensure that all colleagues keep accessibility as a main priority in all they do.

We understand that not all customers are aware of the different ways they can get assistance when travelling by train, so we will widely communicate that customers can request Passenger Assistance, and not only those with visible disabilities. We also want our customers to understand that booking Passenger Assist or using the Turn Up and Go service at a station is available for everyone who may need it, including those who are not travelling on their own.

We will launch and continuously update our communication campaign promoting empathy from the public towards customers who need assistance, as this helps to make everybody’s journey more pleasurable.

 

B5 WORKING WITH DISABLED PASSENGERS, LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES

We engage with local stakeholders on how we can continue to improve access and services for customers requiring assistance, informing priorities and identifying and developing new initiatives.

We work with local authorities, other local service providers, local and regional access groups and charities to promote the opportunities and benefits of accessible travel on our network. We work with them to identify suitable opportunities to distribute our passenger leaflet where public services are provided in the communities our train services serve. We use a wide range of other appropriate channels to promote the opportunities and benefits or travel by rail for customers requiring assistance. This will include:

  • Promotion and information about travel online and social media e.g., video, and interactive media.
  • Promotion of Passenger Assist and how to book it.
  • Promotion of the Turn Up and Go service.

Our Customer Experience and Commercial Director will represent us on industry forums such as the quarterly Rail Delivery Group Accessibility Group (RDG-AG) meetings and be an active participant in associated working groups.

We will play an active role in the RDG-AG, working with our fellow operators to improve the accessibility of the British rail network by sharing best practice and implementing consistent approaches. We will also engage with Network Rail’s Built Environment Accessibility Panel (BEAP).

We widely consult and engage relevant stakeholders on our plans in relation to accessibility. This includes a continuous engagement with RiDC, who have also been consulted in the development of the policy. We also engage with the Rail Access & Inclusion Forum for the North to gather further insight and feedback from customers. This will give the opportunity to customer who require assistance to report to our board of directors quarterly.

In addition to Transport Focus, London TravelWatch, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland, and the Rail Ombudsman, we will also seek to work with:

  • Government
  • Members of Parliament
  • Members of the Scottish Parliament.
  • Charity and Community groups.
  • Local government members and officers at Unitary, County, District and Parish level.
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships.
  • Chambers of Commerce.
  • Community Rail Partnerships and Rail User Groups.
  • RDG
  • Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).
  • Fellow Train Operating Companies and Station Facility Operators.
  • Station Adoption groups.

We will be applying to be part of the Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme in 2022 and we will provide an annual summary of how we have engaged with all stakeholders in relation to accessibility across our network in our annual Accessibility report.

B6 COLLEAGUE TRAINING

We recognise the importance training and development plays in delivering excellent customer service. We provide all our colleagues with training and development appropriate for their role in relation to accessibility to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to always provide consistently high quality, reliable and safe services appropriate to the needs of our customers requiring assistance.

The aims of this training are to:

  • Enable our teams to identify and meet the needs of our customers, so we can ensure that the service we provide reflects their needs at all points of the journey.
  • Understand the requirements of relevant legislation including the Equality Act 2010.
  • Gain an appreciation of the different types of disability and what this means for customers.
  • Learn about our policy and processes in relation to our Accessible Travel Policy including the accessible features of our trains and stations.
  • Learn how to assist wheelchair and scooter users safely and the correct etiquette.
  • Recognise customers with additional needs whether they be physical, sensory, or cognitive, visible, or non-visible and demonstrate effective ways of communicating with them, understand what the Sunflower Lanyard is for and how to assist people wearing them.
  • Similarly, understanding what Thistle Assistance card is and being able to help all customers using this scheme.

Disability and awareness training also forms part of our corporate induction training for all new employees. This training covers:

  • Understanding disabled people and their everyday challenges: through sharing the experiences of disabled customers who use our services, and exploring what behaviours encourage customers to have the confidence to travel by train.
  • Equality legislation: colleague will gain an understanding of the Equality Act 2010, its origins and how it influences their day-to-day duties.
  • Defining Disability: focusing on attitudes, colleagues will gain an appreciation of the broad range of disabilities and impairments which customers may have, and how best to meet their needs.
  • Recognising Customers who need assistance: considering all disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as learning difficulties or mental-health, colleagues will gain skills and be provided with tools to help them identify those customers who may need assistance, and how best to provide this.
  • The Railway Regulatory Framework: an appreciation will be gained of the policies, procedures and processes which exist throughout the industry for the benefit of customers with disabilities, including the Accessible Travel Policy, Minor Works scheme and Access for All.
  • Passenger Assist: an in depth understanding of Passenger Assist, how it works, its features and benefits will be gained, with a solid understanding of the part they play in delivery of the service.

All colleagues, will also receive relevant training in:

  • Communication: understanding how best to communicate with customers with a range of disabilities, accompanied by a companion or not, and the importance of effective communication between colleagues providing assistance, e.g., communicating a change to an assistance booking.
  • Accessibility in stations and on trains: ensuring colleagues are aware of the importance of certain station features, where they can find information about other stations, and the process to follow should a facility become unavailable.
  • Providing safe assistance (including providing assistance in an emergency): ensuring new and existing colleagues are aware of the safest way to provide assistance, including guiding blind or partially sighted customers or deployment and use of the ramp. 

We have developed an appropriate refresher training programme to ensure that all our colleagues meet the mandatory learning outcomes for the training listed above as appropriate to their role by 31st July 2023. We have devised future training programmes to ensure training remains current and each colleague is re-briefed at least every two years. Our training programmes will be delivered in house and will ensure a consistency in training, as well as allowing the cross-pollination of ideas and experiences from another operator. The training will be developed with input from disabled customers and partners and include the opportunity for our colleagues to engage directly with customers requiring assistance to aid better understanding of the real-life challenges that they can face when using the rail network. We will ensure that that our training reflects current legislation, data and language requirements and good practice.

We will provide a condensed version of our disability awareness training course, covering as a minimum Passenger Assist, Communication and Providing Safe Assistance to any contact centre team member, including where contracted on a temporary basis or through a third party.

We work with our third-party suppliers to support them in delivering appropriate accessibility training to their team members, where their employees will interact directly with our customers e.g., contact centre teams, rail replacement bus operators, and cleaning teams; so that they are able to provide appropriate and high-quality assistance. This may include sharing training materials, agreeing training principles and/or providing introductions to disabled user groups.

We will include a report into the training we have delivered in relation to Disability Awareness every year as part of our annual Accessibility Report. Annual review and report

We will review the delivery of all aspects of our Accessible Travel Policy annually and our results will inform an annual Accessibility Report that we will. share with the ORR. This report will include:

  • Progress against plan.
  • The identification of any problems or challenges we’ve experience in delivery our goals and promises.
  • Training results.
  • A summary of key performance results in relation to Accessibility.
  • A summary of stakeholder engagement in relation to Accessibility.