The last few months have seen a lot of activity for our ever-growing campaign team. In September we met with Network Rail, who told us all about their Whole Industry Strategic Review (WISR) which follows on from the government’s white paper ‘The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail’, in which the idea of Great British Rail was launched. The WISR is intended to give the Department for Transport a 30 year network-wide rail strategy.
It was a great opportunity to feed in recommendations for family-friendly travel covering not just the issues parents face on trains such as lack of pram space and poor baby changing facilities, but also struggles boarding trains, reaching platforms, getting in and out of the station, even getting to and from the station. While we may not see immediate impact from our input, given the long-term nature of the project, it was a really valuable meeting – our thanks to Helen and Daisy from Network Rail for their time.
We also learned in that meeting that passenger assistance should apply to anyone who needs help, not just people with disabilities. So, if you need help getting on or off a train with a pram or buggy, you should be allowed to request use of a ramp, either through an app like Transreport or via the help point at a station.
In September we met with Avanti again and Transport for Wales for the first time. Both were receptive to our ideas and Transport for Wales have invited us to check out their mock-ups for new rolling stock and give feedback early next year.
We’ve also made friends with the wonderful Gareth Dennis who is, among many other things, co-founder of the Campaign for Level Boarding, a campaign that resonates with our own given the problems lack of step-free access to trains and platforms poses for people travelling with prams. Thanks to Gareth for his insights and advice into the rail industry. If you’re on Twitter, please do follow and support @LevelBoarding.
Thank you also to Cait Sim at Visible Platform for some really useful recommendations for groups we should speak to in the coming months, and how to develop our campaign further. Visible Platform is closing the data gap around sexual harassment on public transport. If you have been harassed at any point you can report it anonymously through their website.
More recently we’ve started meeting with ROSCOs (rolling stock companies – the people who actually own the trains) and have upcoming meetings with a few manufacturers too. Watch this space!
Our team is growing which means we can get more done, but we have lots of ideas and would still welcome more help. If you are able to help our campaign in any way, please get in touch!