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Brent Cross West assists blind passengers

March 28, 2024

Brent Cross West station has been made more accessible to blind and partially sighted passengers through a guiding app called Aira that can now be used there for free.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has been working with Sight Loss Councils that advocate for accessibility for blind and partially sighted people, to extend the free use of the app to more stations across its network.

The app was first introduced at four stations to test out how effective it is and, following positive feedback from passengers, the trial has been extended to eight more stations, including Brent Cross West.

The app works by placing a video call with a trained advisor. The advisor looks through the customer’s smartphone camera to guide them around the station on speakerphone.

The Brent Cross Cricklewood Consultative Access Forum members, who are a group of disabled people that play a vital role in ensuring the regeneration scheme is accessible, said: “We are delighted about the visual interpreting services available via the Aira app.  It is sure to provide additional confidence to many disabled passengers, including some people with neurodiversity differences, but particularly vision impaired people. Having this app will be a reliable way of introducing disabled passengers to the design of the amenities, platform layouts and associated access routes. It’s important that every barrier that excludes people is removed, and this app has potential to be a very effective tool in achieving this. We wish it every success in the trial and look forward to it proving to be invaluable to disabled passengers and hopefully adapted more widely.”

When building Brent Cross West, we worked closely with members from the Consultative Access Forum on the designs to ensure that the new station was made as accessible as possible for disabled people. As well as tactile paving taking you in and around the station, braille signage has been incorporated across rails. Brent Cross West has step-free access from street level to the platforms from both the eastern and western entrances, as well as an overbridge which provides 24-hour access for residents living on both sides of the tracks.

GTR’s Accessibility Lead, Carl Martin, said: “We want everyone to be able to use our services, regardless of their disability or need for assistance. All our staff are trained to assist our customers, whatever their needs. We hope this app can improve the support we already offer blind and partially sighted customers to put them in control of their journeys.”

For passengers without smartphones, there are plenty of other options available to gain assistance when using the railway. Visit the dedicated assistance pages at Thameslink’s website.

Find out more about Brent Cross West here.