Image caption,

Govia Thameslink Railway’s says its Aira app will now be available to use at Chichester, Haywards Heath and Eastbourne

A train operating company has expanded its app which helps blind and visually impaired people navigate railway stations to three more stations in Sussex.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) says its Aira app will now be available to use at Chichester, Haywards Heath and Eastbourne.

It works by enabling by blind and partially sighted customers to make a video call with a trained advisor who looks through the customer’s smartphone camera to guide them around the station on speakerphone.

One blind rail user, Paul Goddard from Chichester, described his first time the as using the app as “absolutely fantastic”.

On the other end of the call is someone who gives directions.

They even inform the person whether they need to push or pull a door open.

GTR sats it has worked with blind charities and advocacy groups on this project.

Dave Smith, the engagement manager at the Sight Loss Council, said: “I like the fact that you just connect – you got somebody in real time.

“They can say if there’s anything in my way or if I’m not going in the right direction and it’s just that reassurance.”

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Mark Pavlides, GTR’s Chief Customer Officer says he wants the app to give confidence to blind people

Mark Pavlides, GTR’s chief customer officer, added: “There are about 8,000 customers who are blind or partially sighted across the Sussex area.

“Many of those will be able to come through and get that confidence when they come through stations like Chichester.”

The app was already being used at Brighton, East Croydon, London Blackfriars and Stevenage train stations.

As well as the three new Sussex stations, it also now works at Finsbury Park, Brent Cross West, Luton Airport Parkway, Bedford and Sutton.

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