Disabled or elderly passengers who need assistance to board trains will be able to turn up and travel rather than book six hours ahead, under a scheme launched by South Western Railway.
The launch of “assisted boarding points” at stations on SWR, one of Britain’s biggest networks, allows passengers to contact a customer service team who then alert the guard on the next available train to ensure assistance is provided.
SWR said the service would require only 10 minutes’ notice. Standard industry practice is usually to request bookings the day before travel if possible to guarantee assistance.
The points, to be rolled out on all platforms across SWR’s 189 stations in the coming months, will include clear signage with a QR code that customers scan to send details of their journey and the type of assistance they require, such as a wheelchair ramp or visual impairment support.
The rail network described the scheme as an industry first that would make travel more accessible and the provision of assistance more efficient.
A spokesman said: “We know that not every journey is planned in advance, and indeed they shouldn’t have to be. We’re proud to be launching this industry-first service, [...]