Greater Anglia has become the first operator in the country to implement accessibility courses that meet the rail regulator’s new standards in light of new rules that come in in 2021 requiring all train operators to undertake such training.
The company has commissioned a team of Accessibility and Inclusion trainers who will deliver regular sessions over the next two years to ensure its 2,500 workforce feels empowered to help improve the journeys of people with accessibility needs.
The programme is also disabled-led – as the sessions are all delivered by disabled trainers, after Greater Anglia commissioned consultant, Sarah Rennie, to put together a team.
At the end of the course, participants are invited to make an ‘Inclusion Promise’, naming on thing they plan to do differently to improve accessibility and inclusion for customers.
Rebecca Richardson, Greater Anglia’s Accessibility Manager said: “At Greater Anglia we are really serious about doing better in this area. We want everyone to have a good journey with us, so giving our staff the skills and knowledge to always have accessibility in the forefront of their minds will help us achieve that step-change in customer service that we are seeking to provide.
This training is going to make a real difference for staff as it will give them more confidence when assisting disabled customers.
And it will really help disabled customers with their journey experience as staff are better able to understand what they need to do in order to support somebody through their journey and to provide a good passenger experience
Around 40,000 people a year use Greater Anglia’s Assisted Travel service to get help with making a train journey. Staff are able to meet passengers, help them get on and off trains or help with luggage. A similar number of customers with accessibility needs also use Greater Anglia services without booking.