ScotRail. Scotland’s Railway. For just that, all of Scotland. Rail travel should be accessible to everyone and we’re doing everything that we can to do just that.
Scotland currently has 359 railway stations, covering the length and breadth of the country. From Gretna Green in the south up to the UK’s most northerly station of Thurso. There’s a lot to explore and we want everyone to be able to get out there, should they wish to; get to work, visit friends, enjoy days out or head into town for an evening out.
Communication is key in ensuring everyone has the best possible journey. That’s communication between ScotRail staff, passengers and other railway operators. By talking we can keep everyone moving safely, comfortably and feeling supported, whatever their needs.
Train travel can sometimes feel daunting. We’ve all felt it. The busy stations, the noise, everyone else seemingly knowing exactly where they’re headed, platforms changing, not quite catching the announcements, cancellations and finding the right platform to get on the right train.
We know that the thought of train travel can be enough to put you off so we’re working hard to ensure that we can support everyone to get moving on Scotland’s Railway.
How are we doing this?
It doesn’t matter what your disability is, whether visible or hidden, ScotRail’s staff will always do everything they can to make your journey as comfortable and easy as possible. With a minimum two-hour pre-booking window, it’s the lowest booking time in the country. We realise you don’t always want to have to pre-book when you just fancy a wee jaunt into town. So much so, that by next year we will have this down to one hour.
Should you just choose to turn up at the station, we will always do our best to get you on the train you’re aiming for. By pre-booking we guarantee that we’ll get you on your chosen service. Pre-booking can be done over the phone or through the website, whatever is easiest for you.
Assistance can be provided from your choice of starting point station, right through to when your journey ends. When you pre-book, you can do this for your entire journey whether it’s staying in Scotland or travelling further afield to England or Wales. It doesn’t matter how many different train operators you use, you just need to make the one assistance booking.
At the start of your rail journey a ScotRail team member can meet you wherever is easiest for you. That could be out of a taxi or inside the station. They can help you purchase a ticket, take you to your train, find your seat and get you settled.
Whatever your needs, we can support you. Once you’re safely on board, the team member will ensure that there are plans in place to help you off the train. On trains with a guard, they will help you off the train. If there is n guard on the train, they will call ahead to ensure that a member of staff at the station you’re travelling to will help you off the train. Don’t worry, we would never leave you unable to get off.
It’s all about communication. Everyone’s needs are different, so we want to tailor the support we provide to you and your needs. When you pre-book simply tell the person on the phone, or in the form online what exactly it is you need. If you’re not quite sure, chat to us and we can figure it out together. Or when you arrive at the station, find a member of staff and chat to them.
Not everyone is comfortable chatting, and we understand that. We have created a Passenger Assistance card where you/we can write down where you’re going to, which train you need to get and any other details that will help you feel most comfortable and at ease with your journey. It helps the staff to deliver a great service too.
We were also delighted to recently become the first UK train operator to use contactSCOTLAND-BSL, the online British Sign Language interpreting service. All ScotRail employees have access to this on their phone and are trained how to use it to make train travel a lot less stressful for those using sign language.
On every one of our station platforms there is a help point. By pressing this you are automatically connected to a member of staff who can help. This could be asking a question, seeking some reassurance or asking for help.
What if my station’s not accessible?
Some of Scotland’s railway stations date back to 1838 and are only accessible by stairs. We know this isn’t ideal. You should be able to choose whichever station is easiest for you. That’s why we will book you an appropriate taxi at no extra charge between the inaccessible station and the nearest or most convenient accessible one for your journey. It’s the same if services get disrupted, we will always look after you and ensure that you have accessible transport to your destination.
We all love to save some pennies, and with the Disabled Persons Railcard, you can enjoy 30% off fares for yourself and a friend. That’s not just in Scotland, but across the UK too. A lot of attractions across the UK give a discount on entry prices when you show a valid railcard too. Even more excuse for a day out.
ScotRail’s aim is to make train travel across Scotland accessible and stress-free for everyone. We look forward to welcoming you on board soon.
To book your assisted travel, call us on 0800 912 2901
Or book online at: www.scotrail.co.uk/plan-yourjourney/accessible-travel