TransPennine Express (TPE) has become one of the first train operators in the North to install British Sign Language (BSL) message boards.
The screens, which have been installed at Huddersfield railway station and other TPE managed stations across the North, will see live departures information and station messaging communicated with customers via BSL.
This year, BSL became a recognised language in the UK and the innovative technology at TPE stations will mean BSL users can access service information without having to rely on spoken announcements or written departure screens.
The BSL message boards have been installed as TPE continues to ensure that accessibility is one of its main priorities.
Fran Barrett, Business Assurance Director at TPE, said: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we are doing all we can to make our network as inclusive and as accessible as possible. A large proportion of the deaf community cannot read as it’s difficult to learn to do so when you cannot hear the language being spoken, therefore the introduction of these boards is a necessity for those who communicate via BSL.
“At TPE we’re committed to enhancing accessibility and ensuring our customers feel confident travelling with us at all times, therefore we’re extremely proud to become one of the first train operators in the North to install the BSL message boards.”
The BSL boards are part of the Inform Media suite of passenger information software created by L.B. Foster, a global solutions provider of products and services for the rail and infrastructure markets.
Adam Cousins, Head of Business Development at L.B. Foster, said: “Our unique BSL departures software provides the deaf community with timely access to critical travel information. Following our successful trial at London Euston station, we’re really proud to now begin rolling out this innovative software across the UK rail network. Huddersfield is the second train station in the UK to feature our Inform Media BSL departures software solution, with plans for it to be introduced at 18 more stations in the coming weeks and months.”
The new message boards are the next step in TPE’s accessibility push after introducing a BSL interpretation service in ticket offices earlier this year. The service, provided via video link by InterpretorsLive!, has been designed to offer extra support for customers travelling on the railway by offering people who are deaf, or have a hearing impairment, the opportunity to access enhanced information or assistance whilst on their journey.
Customers who would like to use the tool should ask staff at the booking office to contact a sign language interpreter. The facility is available to use across all 16 of TPE’s staffed stations. Customers who use BSL can also connect to a video interpreter for additional travel support or to arrange pre-booked assistance ahead of their travel via the TPE website, with the service open between 8am and midnight seven days a week.
Photo credit: TPE