Extra help at major London stations for passengers with hidden disabilities

Published 3 March 2020 | Average read time
3 min read
Stories Industry-leading Putting passengers first

Sunflower-branded lanyards are now available at several big London railway stations to help passengers with hidden disabilities.

The lanyards, which we launched at Manchester Piccadilly, London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Birmingham New Street stations in December, enable people to discreetly show staff they might need extra help while travelling. Their roll-out at more large stations is our latest effort to improve customer service across the railway.

Putting passengers first

The lanyards and sunflower-branded ticket wallets are now available at London Victoria, London Bridge, London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, London Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Guildford in Surrey.

Passengers can collect the lanyards and wallets from any Network Rail or train operator information points at these stations, including ticket offices.

Sunflower lanyard and ticket holder

All Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, South Western Railway and Southeastern station staff have been briefed to understand what the sunflower lanyards signify and can offer the right help to passengers who need it. Staff will wear green and yellow sunflower badges so passengers with hidden disabilities can approach them for help if they need to.

The sunflower lanyards aim to help passengers with hidden disabilities such as:

  • autism and Asperger’s
  • learning disabilities
  • dementia
  • mobility issues (e.g arthritis, multiple sclerosis, myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic illness)
  • visual or hearing impairments.

Specially-made ticket wallets allow extra discretion so that passengers only disclose when they need help, rather than wearing a sunflower lanyard which is visible to everyone.

Nicole Cohen-Wray, Network Rail’s station transformation programme lead for the Southern Region, said: “Travelling by train for passengers with hidden disabilities can be quite daunting and we’re always looking at ways we can make their journeys easier. The sunflower symbol is the perfect way for passengers to discreetly identify themselves to our staff, so we can do everything possible to make their journeys as smooth as possible.”

Daniel Burn, the Gatwick Express manager for Gatwick Airport station, said: “This is another way for Gatwick Express partnerships to deliver better experiences for all our passengers. With Gatwick Airport being one of the first to support the sunflower lanyard scheme, this extension of the scheme now supports the whole journey, including train to plane.”

Sophie Hill, area station manager at Southern, said: “This is another option to help everyone to travel with greater confidence that they’ll get the support they need on their journeys. It’s a helpful addition to our existing travel support tools; including our travel support cards, priority seat cards and baby-on-board badges.”

Michael Adlington, accessibility and inclusion manager at South Western Railway, said: “We hope that this increases the confidence of any disabled customers travelling through Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Guildford. We hope to extend the scheme to the rest of the South Western Railway network in the near future.”

The initiative is supported by Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and other charities including Alzheimer’s Society, The National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss.

Sunflower lanyards first launched on 3 December at Manchester Piccadilly, London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Birmingham New Street. They are now being rolled out at other stations.

The sunflower scheme is the latest commitment to help passengers with additional needs following the introduction of more recognisable purple uniforms for Mobility Assistance staff at Manchester Piccadilly, London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street and Birmingham New Street stations last year.

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