Norwich comedian's online storm prompts 'life-changing' Greater Anglia action
PUBLISHED: 08:48 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:49 28 September 2018
A Norwich comedian has succeeded in improving conditions for disabled rail passengers after footage of her being forced to move her mobility scooter from a disabled space went viral.
Tanyalee Davis appeared on BBC Look East and ITV’s This Morning as a result of the media storm. She is now voluntarily trialling Greater Anglia’s new Uber-style Passenger Assist app.
The app, which will enable direct communication with railway staff, is something Tanyalee had been “hoping and praying for”.
The Canadian-born performer said: “It’s going to be life-changing – it will take a lot of pressure and anxiety off of disabled people.
“It’s really happening; they are pushing forward something that definitely needs to be done.
“It’s not just words – they are actually taking action. The app is going to open up our world and be life-changing for disabled people - as long as it’s done right.”
She added: “At the moment there can be a huge sense of anxiety because you never know if the member of staff will show up.
“We need the app to be spontaneous, so you can send a message saying how far away from the station you are.”
Tanyalee will give feedback and suggestions for improvements before it’s rolled out nationally in autumn 2019.
Kerri Worrall, media officer at Greater Anglia, said: “The app makes communication much more immediate by sending an alert to all station staff.
“It is an industry-wide development recognising some of the problems people like Tanya have experienced,
“We think it will be a real step change compared to the current system – it should make it so much easier.”
She added: “Currently train companies ask customers to book through a number of channels including by phone or online, where customers provide contact details and specify the assistance they need every time.
“Staff at stations then receive a printed list of booked assistance each morning, which means when plans change, for example if trains are delayed or the customer misses their booked train, there is no way to update the list and staff can sometimes end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Anyone interested in trialling the app on journeys between Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Ipswich for 12 weeks from the end of 2018 should email Rebecca.Richardson@greateranglia.co.uk.