Rail assistance booking window shortens to 2 hours

From today (Friday 1st April), the amount of notice disabled passengers must give when booking Passenger Assistance for rail journeys has been reduced to 2 hours ahead of departure. 

Rail assistance booking window shortens to 2 hours. Photo of person using Passenger Assist app on a smartphone.

This means that disabled people who require assistance – for example a manual boarding ramp to access the train or sight-guiding – will now have to book Passenger Assistance 2 hours ahead of their journey, an improvement on the previous 6 hour window. 

Passengers are still able to “turn up and go” and travel without booking assistance in advance, and Train Operating Companies (TOCs) are still required to make every effort to assist – this remains unchanged. 

Katie Pennick, Campaigns Lead at Transport for All, said: 

“Disabled people should be able to travel with as much freedom and choice as anyone else. Oftentimes it is impossible to know which train you are going to take; arranging assistance 6 hours in advance was impractical. On countless occasions I – and so many others like me – have made last minute travel plans only to have them thwarted by the lack of assistance available. Today’s change is one step forward in granting disabled passengers a similar level of spontaneity in travel as everyone else.”

 As a result of this move, Train Operating Companies are now required to take bookings for Passenger Assistance outside of working hours, to ensure assistance will be provided on those first morning trains. 

Although the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has not made a public announcement, Transport for All contacted the press office who confirmed the change was going ahead from 1 April. 

How do I book assistance?

For more information on Passenger Assistance, visit the National Rail Enquiries website. 

There are a number of ways to request assistance. 

In May 2021, the new app Passenger Assistance (by Transreport) was launched – allowing passengers to request assistance via a smartphone. You can find out more on the Passenger Assistance by Transreport page. 

To book assistance, you can also call for free on  0800 0223720  or text  60083. For textphone/minicom, dial  0845 60 50 600. 

We want to hear your views

At Transport for All we’re keen to understand how this change is being implemented and what impact it is having on disabled passengers. If you make a Passenger Assistance booking within the new 2 hour window, please get in touch with us and tell us how it went! Contact us: 

By phone: 020 7737 2339

By email: contactus@transportforall.org.uk

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