COVID 19: Rail Network Guidance for Customer Information Activities and Passenger Assistance

Individual staff members carrying out customer information activities should maintain social distancing where it is reasonable and practicable to do so.

General assistance to customer should be provided as follows:

  • Be supportive and communicate clearly with customers so that they understand the reason for your actions.
  • Wherever possible maintain the recommended 2 metre social distance between yourself and customers until it is absolutely necessary to move closer – keep periods of close proximity working to an absolute minimum.
  • When providing direct assistance attempt to keep as much separation as possible between you and the person you are assisting, for example maintain an arms-length distance with visually impaired passengers.

When assisting wheelchair users:

  • Staff are reminded to ask customers not to turn their face you. Please wipe down handles before pushing and after pushing a wheelchair – remember that the customer may not be able to do this themselves.
  • When placing a ramp down, ask the customer to remain 2 metres away until the ramp is located. If a customer is on board, ask them to move back if possible.
  • Power wheelchairs are not likely to require assistance as they are selfpropelled.
  • Avoid being in confined spaces with the customer, e.g. lifts where possible. If the customer requires use of the lift, you can assist them into the lift. Staff could then take the stairs and meet the customer as the lift arrives. This will be more practical at some locations than others. If there are more staff available, one can be either side and wait for the lift to arrive.
  • If the customer has requested luggage assistance, you should ask that their luggage be set down, and for them to move away. You can then approach their luggage without having to be within 2 metres of the customer.

When assisting a customer with visual impairment:

Please ask how they need to be assisted. If guiding is required, use a vest or some other clothing between their hand and your arm that can be removed after assisting. Remember to explain what you are doing for their and your safety.

If a customer with hearing impairments asks you for help, consider these factors:

  • A screen will likely reflect light when talking
  • Face to face over 2 meters can work in many circumstances
  • Consider the written information you are displaying – keep messages clear and succinct.
  • Customers with nuero-diverse disabilities and learning disabilities may find these times unsettling. Be patient and calm. Although they are like to be aware of the 2-metre requirement, if they need reminding please do so with consideration that they might have forgotten.
  • A customer is likely to be stressed about the change in experience – you can empathise with them about these being difficult circumstances and thank them for their understanding.
  • We know that many stations have existing relationships with their customers – use these to your advantage to thank customers for their understanding.
  • When reviewing travel documents, ask the customer to place the documents in a place you can see the detail without touching them.
  • Always practice good personal hygiene, wash your hands regularly for a minimum of 20 seconds. Where a hand-washing facility is not available, you should use hand sanitiser. Hands should be washed immediately if you come into direct contact with another person.

Assistance to an unwell or injured passenger

When providing assistance to unwell customers, the situation should be assessed, and a decision made on whether the staff member can deal with the situation safely, or whether professional medical assistance is needed.

Staff members should avoid customers displaying symptoms (a new continuous cough or a high temperature) of Coronavirus (Covid-19). Unwell customers should be advised not to travel further and return home. This will also help to protect others from infection.

If the customer is not well enough to make a direct journey home, the on duty manager must be notified immediately so that the unwell person can be directed to a designated safe location and advice on alternative transport should be given to help them complete their journey. If customers are not able to travel it is expected that medical assistance from paramedics will be required (seek medical assistance if this is needed).

All stations should identify a location, room or facility to isolate unwell customers (or staff) until trained medical assistance is available. These areas should be cleaned after each use to ensure they remain safe for use.

You must not put yourself at risk and take all necessary precautions to prevent close contact with anyone showing symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

If a member of staff or a passenger has helped someone who was taken unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19), they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly as per guidelines for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell.

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