Anne Wafula Strike has praised the app (PA)
The move has been praised by Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike who says that the passenger assistance app will “empower disabled people to travel without fear.”
She added: “Although passenger assistance usually works, I’ve had awful experiences when it has failed so it’s great to see the rail industry addressing this and planning to change and improve for the benefit of disabled people.”
The app’s development comes following a spate of incidents in recent months involving wheelchair users not receiving the assistance they need on the railways.
In July disabled comedian Tanyalee Davis made headlines when she was forced to move her mobility scooter from a disabled space on a Great Western Railway train.
She was reduced to tears when a train guard made her move so that a woman could put her pram in the wheelchair area.
Tanyalee Davis was reduced to tears during one journey (Tanyalee Davis)
In March a disabled doctor was left stranded on a train in her wheelchair when no staff arrived to help her get off at London Euston, despite her booking assistance.
Dr Hannah Barham-Brown said it was one of a number of similar incidents she has suffered, adding that they make her feel “worthless”.
Rail Delivery Group regional director Robert Nisbet said: “We know we’ve got to do better to improve rail’s accessibility.
“We want everyone who has requested assistance to get the help they need, which is why we’re investing in this pioneering technology that has the needs of our customers at its heart.
“A few taps of the app will give customers more control, help our people do their jobs better, and deliver on the commitment in our long-term plan to enable more people to benefit from travelling by train.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “The application of technology to make travel easier by improving the reliability and responsiveness of passenger assistance is a welcome step.