Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (449)

Robert Troy

Question:

449. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the purpose of the new accessibility application that will be provided for users of public transport; and the services they will be able to access through same. [51831/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

While all new trains and new train stations are accessible from the design stage, many of the older stations on the rail network date from the 19th century and were not accessible for people with disabilities. Under the Accessibility Retro-fit programme, these stations are progressively being made accessible.

As part of this work, I provided additional funding in September of this year for the development a new accessibility app to address some of the key communication breakdowns that occur when providing assistance to persons with disabilities travelling on the Irish Rail network. The technology will allow people to pre-book a journey that confirms they will have Operative assistance at their departure and arrival stations, and provide them with support in an emergency.

Earlier this month I announced that further funding is being provided for the second phase of this project. Irish Rail intends to roll out the Accessibility App initially on DART services and then onto commuter services.

Irish Rail are currently looking for volunteers who have mobility and vision impairments and who are regular DART users, to become part of a research panel which will include live testing of a prototype of the app. Details can be found at http://www.irishrail.ie/access-dart-app or by contacting by calling (01) 703 4837 or by emailing accesspilot@irishrail.ie

I would encourage those who would benefit from this technology to volunteer for the research panel so that they can provide the necessary feedback and input to ensure the app meets their needs.