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New app to help staff care for unwell passengers under trial with Northern

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A new app will help passengers get speedier care if they become ill while on board a train. 

Developed by York-based rail technology specialist Incremental Solutions, the Unwell Passenger app gives step-by-step instructions to support staff on trains to help passengers who become ill or are injured. 

The new Unwell Passenger app will guide staff through caring for passengers taken ill while on trains.

Currently in the first phase of testing with train operator Northern, the app uses mobile-phone technology for communication, satellite technology for position accuracy and has a digital interface that allows colleagues, control teams and operational staff to liaise with each other and, if required, the emergency services as well.

Tricia Williams, Northern.

Northern’s chief operating officer Tricia Williams explained: “When a customer is unwell on one of our trains, the on-board member of staff currently has to remember, in a stressful situation, all the policies and procedures that relate to helping the customer, as well as coordinate with colleagues in control and emergency services. 

“The app will mean improved management of incidents on board trains as customers who become unwell can be transported more quickly to a suitable location to receive the best care. 

“Other customers also benefit from issues being resolved more quickly, meaning journeys will be back on track in less time.”

Daniel Lee-Bursnall,
Incremental Solutions.

Daniel Lee-Bursnall, co-founder and commercial director at Incremental Solutions, added: “Technology gives us so many opportunities to improve the customer experience on our rail networks and, in this instance, can really help people with immediate and unexpected needs.

“By digitising the alert, and subsequent care process, for unwell passengers, we can become much more effective and proactive too.”

Funded by Innovate UK, the £300,000 trial will be extended to provide even more benefits for Northern customers. A second phase will look at automating the app further, including tracking which train the user is on, as well as the exact location of the train on Northern’s network which will make it easier for emergency services to attend to a passenger.

Additionally, the app will be integrated with the train’s communications, meaning the customer information system can updated with delays or other messages. 

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