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Thousands of rail staff to be trained to help disabled passengers

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Tens of thousands of railway staff are being trained in understanding disabled passengers’ needs, according to the rail regulator.

By the end of the year nearly 30,000 staff will have received training on issues such as effective communication and how to support disabled people wanting to travel, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said.

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The ORR is monitoring the progress of train operators and Network Rail in relation to accessible travel.

Initially only four firms submitted sufficient evidence that they would meet mandatory training requirements by July, but the regulator is now confident that all organisations will fulfil their commitments.

ORR deputy director Stephanie Tobyn said: “ORR wants all passengers to be able to travel safely with confidence and with ease.

“Introducing obligations on train and station operators to provide up-to-date, regular disability awareness and equality training to their staff is part of our broad package of measures to improve the experience of disabled passengers.

“Despite our initial concerns about progress in designing and delivering compliant training packages, the picture has become much more positive over the last six months, with the process of training tens of thousands of staff now well under way.”

Neil Craig, mobility and inclusion manager at Great Western Railway, which has already trained all 4,600 of its frontline staff, said: “As lockdown is eased and people start to use the railway again, it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to ensure that the services we offer are accessible to all passengers.

“We are immensely proud to deliver this new disability awareness training, ensuring that all of our helpful and friendly frontline staff have the knowledge and training required to give customers with disabilities the time, support and assistance that they require.”

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