Finalists in the National Rail Awards, GWR install world first innovation for those with disabilities
Friday 21st August 2020
A joint application by GWR and ADi Access Ltd has been shortlisted for this year’s National Rail Awards for Customer Service Excellence.
The rail company teamed up with ADi Access to install a device, RoomMate®, which provides an audio description of station facilities for those with visual and other impairments.
RoomMate® offers a recorded description of the interior fixtures and fittings, their location and how they are operated in accessible toilets. This audio information is vital to ensure the independence, safety, and dignity of those with sight loss, dementia and learning disabilities. It includes a reminder to “Please, remember to wash your hands”.
Following a trial at Swindon and Exeter St David’s stations, a further 15 devices were installed across GWR’s network, improving customer experience, including safety, during the course of the year.
As one rail traveller said:
‘I went into Saint Davids station the other day and I unlocked the toilet door when I walked through the door the voice on the right hand side said if you are visually impaired wave your hand to get a detailed description of the room. Whoever designed this is genius do we know who may have designed this fabulous piece of kit because it really is fabulous,’ FaceBook comment RNIB Connect - South West.
GWR Head of Public Affairs Jane Jones said:
"Encouraging people with disabilities to gain confidence and independence on the rail network is important to us.
"This innovative system allows those with visual disabilities to travel more freely, enabling them to take better advantage of all of the services that GWR has to offer."
The devices have now been fitted at the following GWR stations: Bristol Parkway; Chippenham; Didcot; Exeter Central; Gloucester; Newbury; Newton Abbot; Oxford; Penzance; Plymouth; Slough; Taunton; Trowbridge; and Truro.
The National Rail Awards recognise outstanding achievements in Great Britain over the past year, but particularly look to reward initiatives which demonstrate innovation and measurable improvements in performance which can be rolled out across the rail industry.