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App expands coverage for blind train passengers

blind man using the Aira app at a train station

An app helping train passengers with vision loss is extending its services to benefit more travellers around Sussex.

The device, launched by Govia Thameslink Railway [GTR], will now be rolled out at Chichester, Haywards Heath and Eastbourne stations.

Users of the Aira App can make video calls to a qualified assistance via their phones so they can be guided around the station on loud speaker.

The trained advisor can also notify travellers whether they need to push or pull a door open.

Dave Smith, engagement manager at the Sight Loss Councils, told BBC News: "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."

GTR has worked in conjunction with a number of blind charities and advocacy groups to launch the app.

Mark Pavlides, GTR's chief customer officer, said: "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."

In addition to the three Sussex stations, Aira can also be used at Brighton, East Croydon, London Blackfriars, Stevenage, Finsbury Park, Brent Cross West, Luton Airport Parkway, Bedford and Sutton.

[ For more information visit the Aira website ]

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