EMR trial face-to-face personalised service for customers with accessibility needs

  • Pilot offers customers chance to visit Derby station to work through individual needs
  • Appointments will be free and face-to-face 
  • Scheme to run for six months in partnership with WelcoMe

East Midlands Railway (EMR) is piloting a service at Derby station that offers customers the opportunity to visit and receive a bespoke appointment designed to better support customers with accessibility needs or specific travelling requirements.

The free scheme, run in partnership with the software company WelcoMe, offers customers a meet-and-greet service at the station with an EMR staff member.

Customers are then provided with a tour and bespoke information on station services and amenities that directly relate to their needs.

This could be:

  • A customer who does not require the full Passenger Assistance and wishes to travel independently but would benefit from some extra support before travelling.

  • A parent whose child will be using the train for regular solo travel, such as school.

  • A customer who has new accessible needs and needs guidance on the accessibility of EMR's stations and trains.

  • A disabled customer who is not a frequent rail user or is new to rail travel and requires some help to navigate the station environment to board a train, collect or purchase tickets, and find station amenities.

How does it work?

Users can plan a visit via EMR's website on the Derby Station page or via the WelcoMe website. They are then directed to a page that displays opening times, accessibility features, and available assistance at the station. After selecting 'Plan Visit' the user can then choose the date and time of their planned visit, providing the venue with a six-hour warning.

They are then prompted to state the assistance they require.

Once the booking is confirmed by the station, they will receive information about the visitor’s disability, access needs, and specific details on how to assist them.

Then, all the customer needs to do is arrive at Derby station at the chosen time, where an EMR staff member will meet them.

Dave Meredith, Customer Services Director at East Midlands Railway, said: "We are pleased to announce the start of this pilot at Derby station and are looking forward to receiving feedback from customers on its usefulness.

"This bespoke service aims to empower customers with disabilities or specific requirements to travel confidently and independently while still receiving the assistance they need.

"It could prove very useful to a range of customers, from travellers with accessibility requirements, first-time train users, or people with anxiety issues.

"If you, or anyone you know, will benefit from the service, please visit our website or the WelcoMe site to book an appointment."

Gavin A Neate, Founder of WelcoMe, said: "For many disabled people, the anxieties connected to travel prevent them from planning or undertaking a journey at all.

"Becoming familiar with environments and trusting those providing services is fundamental to this process, and we are incredibly excited to be working with East Midlands Railway to be addressing this challenge.

"WelcoMe connects disabled people directly with the customer service team members they will meet and provides the teams with best practice and tips on interactions before they arrive.

"We all experience anxiety connected to travel, but for many disabled people, this anxiety will stop them from traveling at all. Together with Derby Station, we will prove what’s possible."

Contact Information

East Midlands Railway Press Office