Access For All: Interview with Paul Jackson from Hull Trains and Lumo
Posted: 17 May 2023 | Global Railway Review | No comments yet
For Global Railway Review’s ‘Access For All’ interview series, Paul Jackson, Head of Customer and Stakeholder Engagement at open access passenger operators Hull Trains and Lumo details the many facets of work that are steering the goal of truly accessible transport for all.
What is Hull Trains’ and Lumo’s mission statement when it comes to accessibility?
Both Hull Trains’ and Lumo’s mission statement is about enabling all passengers to be able to travel with us in comfort and secure in the knowledge that they will be supported, where appropriate, at every stage of their journey with us, particularly those with a specific accessibility need.
Do you think the rail industry as a whole is doing enough to ensure rail travel is accessible for all?
The rail industry has made huge strides in making travel by rail more accessible. However, it is crucial that we continue to listen, and continue to work closely with, those in society who would like to see us make further improvements. A fully accessible network has to be the goal of the industry. We must work with those who fund the network to ensure that investment is planned and targeted so that we can identify and remove any restrictions to accessibility. The industry does have a roadmap in place, but it is important that our stakeholders continue to work with us and challenge us so that we truly become accessible for all.
What on-board amenities/facilities do Hull Trains’ and Lumo’s trains offer to ensure people with disabilities have a comfortable journey?
We offer use of the Passenger Assistance system so that passengers can get support throughout their journey should they have specific needs. On-board our trains we have passenger information displays, audible announcements, on-board colleagues on every service, wheelchair user spaces, ramps for boarding and alighting, carriage/destination information displays, handrails, and step height markings/lights.
How does Hull Trains and Lumo support individuals with disabilities to enhance their station navigation experience?
Whilst we don’t operate any stations, we work with the teams who provide assistance on our behalf at stations to enable the best possible journey experience. A number of station facility operators have specific route plans, maps and station navigation tools which are accessible through their websites or the National Rail website, which assist passengers in planning their journey.
Is website accessibility important?
Website accessibility is very important to us, as our website is in effect our virtual ‘shop window’. We have partnered with the Shaw Trust to review and suggest improvements for our website, so that we can achieve a higher WCAG accessibility rating and are implementing the changes they have suggested over the next six months.
How does Hull Trains and Lumo ensure its staff are trained to provide assistance to people with disabilities?
Our team receive training on induction and then have refresher training every two years. In between the more formal training we’ll brief colleagues on an ad hoc basis if there are any important changes to systems, services or legislation. This allows us to update them with the latest information so we can ensure we deliver the best possible service to our passengers.
How can people with disabilities provide feedback to Hull Trains and Lumo and how is this information taken forward to improve accessibility?
We’re always appreciative of feedback from our passengers and this can be done in a variety of ways, i.e. through our webforms on our website, by social media on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, by telephone, by post or face to face to our team on-board or at meet the manager sessions. Any information relating to accessibility received is passed on to the relevant team internally and, where appropriate, actioned immediately or put into our rolling business planning process.
How does Hull Trains and Lumo collaborate with disability advocacy groups to improve accessibility for people with disabilities?
Both operators have participated in schemes such as ‘Purple Tuesday’ and regularly meet with stakeholders across our network. At Lumo, we have recently commissioned some Mystery Shopping and surveys to review how the service we provide to disabled passengers is given. We’re also involved in several industry networks which allow us to listen to the views of advocacy groups and take learning from their suggestions.
To what extent do you think that more needs to be done at a government level to ensure trains and stations become even more accessible?
From a government perspective the key driver of change is about funding, i.e. through continued support of the Access For All scheme which gives monies towards infrastructure enhancements which make stations more accessible. As modernisation continues throughout the rail network and trains are replaced, there also needs to be a clear consistency in train design and station infrastructure changes so that costs are reduced, whilst accessibility is enhanced.
Is Hull Trains and Lumo currently trialling/developing any new accessibility initiatives?
We’re looking at introducing a British Sign Language (BSL) translation system on-board, so that BSL users can communicate, through an interpreter on our trains. At Hull Trains specifically, we’re using a Passenger Infrastructure Improvement Fund to invest over £1.7 million in raising platform levels at two key stations on our route to improve accessibility for all.
How does Hull Trains and Lumo plan to ensure that all customers feel confident while travelling with them in the future?
For us, this is about reassurance and a commitment to delivering excellent levels of service at all times. We review and publish our Accessible Travel Policy for both companies each year and we are regulated by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), who challenge us to continue to improve and report on our performance. Our business planning process includes opportunities where we can develop and enhance our services to all customers, so passengers should be reassured that we are continually driving for better performance and using innovative techniques to do so.
Have you seen the other exclusive interviews from Global Railway Review with rail accessibility experts?
- Catherine Langlois, Senior Advisor – Universal Accessibility, VIA Rail – READ NOW!
- Chris Jeffery, Accessibility & Transport Integration Manager, TransPennine Express – READ NOW!
- Ronan Murphy, Head of Customer Care and Accessibility, Irish Rail – READ NOW!
- Franz Andel, Accessibility Manager at ÖBB-Personenverkehr – READ NOW!
- Sophie Court, Accessibility Improvement Manager at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – READ NOW!
- Linas Baužys, CEO at LTG Link – READ NOW!
There will be other interviews over the coming weeks; participants will include DSB, ProRail, Avanti West Coast, and many more!
If you would like to take part in the Access For All series, or would like to nominate a colleague, please email: Craig Waters, Editor, Global Railway Review.
Passenger Experience/Satisfaction, Passengers With Reduced Mobility (PRM), The Workforce