Disabled People's Protection Policy

Travel information for disabled passengers

THE POLICY IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN LARGE PRINT FORMAT AND BRAILLE. CALL OUR CUSTOMER SERVICES ON 0345 603 4852 FOR ASSISTANCE.

Download Making Rail Accessible: helping older and disabled passengers information leaflet

1. INTRODUCTION

2. STATEMENT OF POLICY

3. MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

4. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

5. ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS

6. WORKING WITH OTHERS

7. STAFF TRAINING

8. EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

9. COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

10. CAR PARKING


1. Introduction

We have developed this document as part of our Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP) to set out the procedures and policies that Grand Central has in place to help customers with restricted mobility and requiring assistance.

This document reflects the guidance set out in the Department for Transport (DfT) document ‘How to write your Disabled People’s Protection Policy: A Guide for Train and Station Operators November 2009’. This policy document should be read in conjunction with our customer document ‘Making rail accessible: helping older and disabled passengers’.

In this second, more detailed, document we are providing you with information to help you understand how we plan to meet your expectations when you are using our services. You will find details of the assistance and facilities we offer to those who are disabled or have reduced mobility and will help you plan and assist your journey on Grand Central services.

We do not operate any stations and we are reliant on our contractual arrangements with the station facility owners (SFO) to provide assistance on stations to our customers. Our on train crews will help people while they are on the train, and also with boarding and disembarking.

This document also sets out our approach to meeting the requirements of the Accessible Train Station Design for Disabled People: A Code of Practice’, currently version 3 November 2011, the Equality Act (2010), the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (non-interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 (RVAR 2010) and the Persons of Reduced Mobility Technical Specification for Interoperability (PRM TSI).

2. Statement of Policy

We believe that when you travel with us you should expect to travel at ease and with confidence. We are committed to providing high standards throughout your journey and we recognise the need to provide all our passengers, including those with disabilities, with information about our services, our trains and the stations at which we call. We are committed to staff training and we work with stakeholder groups to ensure that a continuous improvement cycle exists.

We aim to improve the overall service provided for disabled people and demonstrate how we work with other Train Operating Companies to make improvements to accessibility at stations where our services call. Our company structure reflects the importance we apply to meeting the needs of our disabled passengers. We look forward to working with our passengers with disabilities to further improve accessibility and service.

The key feature of our policy is that everything can be done to enquire, plan and book a journey by contacting our Assisted Travel Team (contact telephone number below) or completing the assistance form on our website. Where reasonably practical Grand Central will arrange assistance at stations (this is the responsibility of the station facility owner operator, who is contracted to us to provide this service at staffed stations) and our train crew will assist disabled passengers boarding, using and leaving our services. We will work with station facility owners to ensure their Station Journey planner and Knowledgebase are kept updated when they are making changes to their stations.

If there is any physical feature that makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to use a Grand Central served station, we will work with the station facility owner and Network Rail (as landlord) in the removal or alteration of this feature, or in the provision of a reasonable means of avoiding it as required under the (Disability Discrimination Act 1995 part 3).

Our trains are approved for service by the ORR, but with some exemptions from the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (RVAR) for our older carriages. All newly built trains will meet the full RVAR 2010 requirements. When we refurbish our older trains we will make every effort to comply with the RVAR, and if we are unable to do this we will apply for a derogation.

Our Disabled People’s Protection Policy is a live document and is reviewed annually by our Board of Directors. We will consult with relevant stakeholders, including user groups as amendments are progressed.

Nothing in our Disabled People’s Protection Policy shall require us to breach any obligations in our acted Railway Safety Case, the Health and Safety at Work Act or our obligations to comply with Railway Group Standards.

3. Management Arrangements

Our Disabled People’s Protection Policy is approved by the board of Grand Central Railway Company Ltd. This policy will be the direct responsibility of the Chief Operating Officer who will have responsibility for integrating the arrangements into the company business plan and other management processes, including measurement of the company’s progress against its accessibility goals.

Every four weeks a report is presented to our board of directors which shows our performance in key areas such as fleet performance (for example the number of occasions accessible toilets were out of order) and the number of times we provided booked assistance to passengers and any problems arising and lessons to be learnt. 

The Chief Operating Officer will ensure the policy is fully represented at the planning stage of all major projects. This will ensure the requirements of passengers with special needs are represented at Grand Central board level and that briefings are cascaded throughout the organisation.

Awareness of our commitment among staff

Managers and staff are made aware of their specific responsibilities through their training programmes and team briefing processes. The team briefing process provides the opportunity for staff to be kept up to date with developments concerning disabled passengers and in addition provides valuable feedback to help us refine and improve our processes.

Our staff on board report any issues arising from booked assistance problems to our Control Centre so that they are recorded in the Control Log and reviewed by Senior Managers the next working day.

4. Monitoring and Evaluation

In order to monitor progress and compliance, all complaints, queries and compliments are recorded and reviewed by the Commercial Director, either as part of the monthly trend report or immediately on receipt. This ensures the effectiveness of our policies and practices are monitored over time and that any day to day issues are identified and resolved as quickly as possible.

We will also use information from the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) to evaluate our performance on accessibility issues.

This policy and our passenger document – Making rail accessible: helping older and disabled passengers – set out a commitment and the measures that we are taking to meet the needs of disabled people as well as the reasonable adjustments we are making to comply with the Equality Act 2010.

We will review these two documents on an annual basis at the end of each anniversary year from the approval date. We welcome your comments and feedback, and this will be considered when the documents are reviewed.

Based on learning from our previous reviews in 2016 we will commence a feedback exercise where a regular random sample of passengers who have booked their journeys through our Assisted Travel Team will be contacted to give us feedback on their experience. This will give us a broader sample of information for our next review.

5. Access Improvements

We will follow the standards and guidance applicable to our operations such as:

• Railways Act 1993
• DfT ‘Accessible Train Station Design for Disabled People: A Code of Practice’, currently version 3, November 2011
• ATOC Good Practice Guide on disabled passengers
• Rail Vehicle Accessibility (non-interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 (RVAR 2010)
• EU Regulation PRM TSI 1300/2014
• Equality Act 2010

Stations

The ease of access and the facilities and assistance available at stations varies considerably. Most stations were built when there was little consideration of the needs for access by people with disabilities. Considerable improvements have been made at many stations across the national rail network and we will actively work with station operators in the planning of upgraded facilities. While we don’t manage any stations, we work closely with the station facility operators (SFOs) to make sure that station signage conforms to industry best practice and approved codes of practice.

Trains

Our Class 180 trains have designated wheelchair positions and an accessible toilet facility. Wheelchair positions are available in both Standard and First Class with an accessible toilet facility located close by. The Class 180’s were built to meet the current Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations.

Our refurbished High Speed Train fleet has two designated wheelchair positions in Standard class with a nearby accessible toilet facility. These trains have manually-operated doors with narrow vestibule areas and aisles. Wheelchairs cannot access the First Class coach.

Both types of trains can accommodate a standard wheelchair (no larger than 70cm wide and 120cm long).

When we refurbish our trains we take account of the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations and look for opportunities to improve accessibility.

6. Working with others

We will work closely with key stakeholders on key issues affecting our network. These include: Transport Focus, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), relevant local Councils and other disability groups in order to continuously improve the levels of service we offer disabled customers. We consult on the content of improvement programmes and maintain a regular dialogue with local user groups and local councils. We endeavour to attend the many user group and local transport liaison meetings, local authority mobility forums and industry-related accessibility meetings. Through the Rail Delivery Group, we will liaise with various groups and organisations representing the interests of disabled people to ensure that their needs are fed into our business.

7. Staff Training

Our customer service training includes training in relation to disability as part of the company induction, whilst existing staff receive regular updates. We ensure that this training has moved on from the days of categorisation and stereotyping, instead we teach our staff a range of assistance techniques and interventions, and help them to identify the best solutions to assist each individual customer. This is combined with practical matters such as use of boarding ramps and how to guide people with visual impairments. Our on train crew are briefed on operational matters including our DPPP through regular updates and off the job sessions, where any changes of legislation / regulation and changes to stations or trains are communicated. Our call centre staff who answer telephones, particularly those in the assisted travel team will be trained in communicating clearly with people who may have difficulty speaking, hearing or understanding.

8. Emergency Procedures

We recognise that disabled customers may need special assistances at times of train or station evacuation. We have written procedures for our on-board staff to follow in such circumstances which deal specifically with the arrangements for dealing with disabled customers. Remember, in an emergency situation it is often safer to remain on the train. The on board team will provide the necessary assistance during an evacuation. 

The Assisted travel booking information is made available in the Guard report when the crew sign on for their shift. This report includes details of all customers who have reserved accommodation or pre-arranged assistance.
At all manned stations that Grand Central calls at, the staff of those stations will provide assistance and information.

9. Communications Strategy

We want to make sure that information about our services is accessible.

Telephone

We provide information about Grand Central services (including details of changed arrangements due to engineering work) and the services available at stations at which we stop can be obtained from the Assisted Travel team.

Assisted Travel team contact numbers:

• Assisted travel team: 0344 811 0072 (open 08.00 – 22.00)
• Assisted travel text relay: 0344 305 6815 (open 09.00 – 17.00)

This services uses human operators and any of our contact numbers which use recorded messages have a default so that if no option is selected a human operator will be connected.

Website

We have a section on our website to provide information about how to access services for disabled people and whose mobility is impaired. We have implemented a number of features to make our website easy to use, especially for users with disabilities and accessible to all. Our website aims to confirm to the Priority 1 (Level A) standard of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. It also includes many features found in “AA” accessible sites such as colour considerations and easily resizable fonts. We will continue to make improvements and try to make sure this website conforms to these guidelines. Bookings for passengers requiring assistance can be made by filling in and submitting a form on the webpage. To ensure that our policies are distributed as widely as possible we will send paper copies to libraries, local councils and representative organisations along our route, as well as other bodies such as Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

10. Car Parking

To make travelling by train more convenient, we encourage station facility operators (SFOs) to give consideration to the location and number of designated parking spaces for use by people with disabilities. We encourage them to monitor the appropriate use of these facilities and have enforcement and security arrangements in place. For further information visit: nationalrail.co.uk/stations destinations for more information about station services and facilities.