London Midland is encouraging more disabled travellers to use its rail services. New research, by Network Rail, showed that almost a quarter (24 per cent) of disabled travellers do not feel their journey will be an easy one. In response London Midland has launched a campaign to highlight how it is committed to making rail travel simpler for everyone.
Francis Thomas, head of corporate affairs at London Midland, said: “London Midland is working really hard to make train travel as simple and easy as possible for all our customers.
“75 per cent of our stations are now step free. If you are using a station where we haven’t yet been able to make those modifications, we will make arrangements to get you to a station where it is easier for you, at our expense.”
London Midland was the first train operating company to create an Access Advisory Panel, an externally chaired group representing the needs of disabled passengers, to shape the future of accessible train travel.
Nick Goss, an independent consultant and wheel chair user, chairs London Midland’s Access Advisory Panel. Having travelled on the railway network for over 30 years, he has seen some vast improvements over this time. He said: “Trains provide an incredibly good option for a wide range of disabled people. It’s about planning where you want to go, what you want to do and really working in partnership with the train operating companies to tell them what you need so they can provide the right assistance, in the right way at the right time.”
London Midland trains and stations have seen significant investment to improve accessibility for all passengers. 75 per cent of its stations now have, step-free access including ramps and lifts . All of London Midland’s trains are also accessible. For stations yet to be improved, through its Assisted Travel Team, London Midland will make arrangements for ticket holders facing accessibility challenges to be taken to another station, at the company’s expense.
Recognising the need to continue finding new ways to make travel accessible for all, London Midland has launched aTravel Support Card to provide extra support and reassurance while travelling.If a passenger needs assistance but finds it difficult to communicate, the card can be shown to rail staff so they can understand what assistance might be required or in an emergency call the contact number provided.
Francis Thomas comments: “We are doing our very best to work in partnership with our customers to make innovative changes across our network.
“We need to reach out to all our passengers to understand what their needs are, what their future needs are going to be, and design the railway to meet that future need.”
More information about how to book travel assistance with London Midland is available at www.londonmidland.com/your-journey/more/accessibility/
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 70 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manages 150 stations and operates 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, GTR (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, five Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work.
In 2013 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Silver Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2012.