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Assisted travel

Have special travel needs? At Southern we’re committed to accessible travel for everyone. Our assisted travel scheme Passenger Assist helps passengers with disabilities and older people who need a little extra help using our services.

Coronavirus information for assisted travel

The majority of passengers travel on our network without booking assistance. If you do wish to book assistance our call centre is of course happy to help you when planning your journey.

You can request Assisted travel at any point during your journey. To make sure we have staff available to help you, we recommend you book at least 6 hours in advance of travelling.

From 1st April 2021, you can contact us to request Assisted travel at any time of the day. If your journey involves another train company we may need to confirm part of your journey with them. This might depend on their contact centre opening hours. If this is the case, we will discuss options with you.

If you're booking a journey for the first time in a while and would like to talk it through, please call our Assisted travel team

Please ensure you check out the coronavirus information page for important information and updates.

Please also see the National Rail Enquiries FAQ on the coronavirus.

Accessibility

We know as an industry we can do better to give everyone the confidence to travel. We’re working hard to empower disabled people and others in need of assistance by making our services easier to use, and have set out our commitments in our new Accessible Travel Policy.

For example, the notice to give should you choose to pre-book assistance is reduced to six hours before travel, although you’re always welcome to turn up at a station unannounced. All our staff are having improved accessibility training, we’ve enhanced our websites and signs at stations, and we’ll have mobile support teams serving our smaller unstaffed stations. Find out more by clicking the links below.

Accessible Travel Policy

Making Rail Accessible

Station Accessibility

Fleet Accessibility

Our Accessible Travel Policy documents are available here in alternative formats including audio and large print versions.

Printed copies of our Making Rail Accessible document will shortly be available from all staffed stations across our network.

How to book assisted travel

There are several ways to book Passenger Assist:

Fill in our assisted travel booking form online

Email us on: myjourney@southernrailway.com

Call us on: 0800 138 1016 (your information may be recorded)
Textphone: 0800 138 1018

Our assisted travel helpline is open 24 hours a day, except on Christmas Day.

We can tell you about your nearest station with step-free access and give information about ramps and lifts. We can also arrange help both at stations and on trains, as well as providing train times and travel information.

If you're booking a journey for the first time in a while and would like to talk it through, please call our Assisted travel team

Our team can help with bookings involving travel on other train operators. Should you wish to contact other operators directly, contact details are available on National Rail’s website.

You can now request assistance via Passenger Assistance by Transreport – a new smartphone app.

Find out more about the new assistance app and how to download it here.

Book assisted travel

How do I buy a ticket?

We’re happy to help you plan your journey. If you want to book your train ticket in advance, call our assisted travel team at least 7 days in before you’d like to travel.

If you have a Disabled Persons Railcard, you can get 1/3 off most rail fares throughout the UK. If you're travelling with a companion, they’ll enjoy the same discount.

Learn more about the Disabled Persons Railcard.

Find information here on discounts for blind and visually impaired passengers travelling with a companion, and on passengers who stay in their own wheelchair during a journey.

If you are a disabled passenger, and are unable to easily purchase a ticket at the station where the journey starts, then the appropriate fare, including discount if applicable, can be paid en route without penalty.

What to do when you arrive at the station

To offer you the best assistance possible, please arrive at the station 20 minutes before your train is due to depart. When you arrive let a member of staff know you’ve booked assisted travel.

We can help you:

  • buy a ticket and anything else you may want for your journey
  • show you where to go – you’ll need to get to the platform 5 minutes before your train leaves
  • get around the station, providing ramps or another kind transport if you can’t use steps
  • board the train and find a seat
  • change trains during your journey

We can also carry light luggage and let other stations know you are coming so that you are looked after when you arrive.

Accessible facilities at the station

Make sure to check our station pages, for information on accessibility at your station.

You can also search for your station on this page, to see if there are any temporary reductions to the accessible facilities.

What to do if you can’t book assisted travel

If you can’t let us know before you travel about your needs, tell a member of staff when you get to the station that you’d like assistance. 

If there’s no member of staff at the station, you can phone us on 0800 138 1016 or use the help point for assistance.

Our commitment to you

We are committed to working towards providing accessible travel for everyone, and our ongoing programme of access improvements will see more and more stations and trains becoming more accessible.

Tips to help us help you

a man standing on a train with a tabletWe recommend that all passengers arrive in good time at the station - as a general rule of thumb, if possible try to arrive at staffed stations 20 minutes before your train is due to depart so we can arrange the most suitable assistance based on your needs.

Station staff, conductors and on-board supervisors have accessibility awareness training and are equipped to help you access our network with confidence.

Staff are widely available on most of our stations and trains. Examples of help our staff can provide includes:

  • Meeting you on arrival at the station
  • Assistance purchasing your ticket
  • Assistance boarding or alighting a train and finding a seat - ranging from a helping hand to the use of a ramp
  • Assistance climbing up or down stairs
  • Assistance with luggage

At stations that are not staffed at the time of your journey, assisted travel is also available from our control centre team. They can be contacted via help points which are normally situated on platforms. At a small number of stations where help points are not available, our control centre can also be contacted via a freephone number (see posters at stations for details).

For assistance with train times and routes, reach out to our Assisted Travel team who can provide more information.

Looking for a different route to travel to your destination, or a quieter train?

Alternative route maps

Finding a quieter train

If things go wrong

Our fully trained staff work hard to assist all of our customers. If, however, you have not received the level of assistance you expect when travelling with us, please contact our Customer Relations team. We commit to investigating any complaints, take appropriate action and provide you with appropriate redress.

If your journey involves multiple train or station operators, we will liaise with them throughout our investigation to provide you with a clear response. Our complaints handling procedure sets out further details around what you can expect from us if things go wrong, including how to contact the Rail Ombudsman if you are not satisfied.

Follow us

You can follow us on Twitter for updated service information, and reach out to us for feedback on social media.

Download our app to get live service updates and train times, and to buy tickets.

Find out more about how we want our website to be accessible to all visitors, so we aim to meet best practice and take account of assistive technologies.

Book assisted travel for your journey

If you’d like to book assistance, we can arrange your help, contact you with confirmation and answer any questions you may have.