Press releases

Accessibility and delay compensation improvements for passengers, but train and station operators have more to do

7 July 2022
The Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) annual rail consumer report shows it has worked constructively across the rail industry to deliver improvements for passengers, including on accessibility and in improving access to compensation.
Cover Image
Passengers at King's Cross station in London

ORR’s consumer report, released today, shows train and station operators have made improvements to their services for disabled passengers, as set out in ORR’s Accessible Travel Policy guidance.

All train operators can now take bookings for assisted travel at 2 hours’ notice, a requirement introduced by ORR to progressively reduce the notice period from 24 hours down to 2 hours over the last two years.

A review into website accessibility highlighted improvement and innovation, but found that more still needs to be done, particularly on the quality of station accessibility information, and for customers that use screen-readers and other assistive technology.

The rail regulator also conducted research into disabled passengers’ experiences with booked assistance. Over 5,200 passengers took part in the research, with overall satisfaction with the Passenger Assist service increasing to 87% this year.

The research identified areas for improvement, including reducing the number of passengers who did not receive all of the assistance that they booked, those not being met by staff at the station and the time it takes to book via telephone.

ORR will engage with train and station operators on areas of concern to secure improvements and help improve confidence for passengers using the service.

In the past year all train operators have also agreed to new delay compensation standards, making the process for submitting a claim clearer and simpler for passengers.

A new licence condition requires train operators to provide passengers with clear information both before and during their journey about their entitlements to compensation when there are delays, improve how they process claims for compensation for train delays, and publish data on how well they are meeting these obligations. 

Stephanie Tobyn, Interim Director of Strategy, Policy and Reform at ORR said:

“Throughout the past year we have held train and station operators to account for fair and transparent interactions with passengers, including on the quality of their passenger information, the services they provide for disabled passengers and how they manage delay compensation claims.

“In the year ahead, we will work with Government to support the establishment of Great British Railways and a better passenger experience, and will bring the Rail Ombudsman under ORR sponsorship”

Notes to Editors

  1. Annual Rail Consumer Report 2022
  2. Accessible Travel Policy Implementation - Review of unbooked assistance and Help Points - July 2022
  3. Accessibility review of train operating companies' (TOCs) websites - Summary report by the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC) dated July 2022
  4. Experiences of Passenger Assist research report 2021 to 2022
  5. The Office of Rail and Road is the economic and safety regulator of Britain’s railway. ORR also holds National Highways to account for its performance and efficiency.
  6. Our passenger facing work derives from the licences we issue to train and station operators, including Network Rail for its managed stations, and from our powers and responsibilities under consumer and competition law.