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RNIB objects to cut in Waterloo Station loudspeaker announcements

A plan to reduce loudspeaker announcements at Waterloo Station has been condemned by the the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

RNIB objects to cut in Waterloo Station loudspeaker announcements

The RNIB is calling on South West Trains not to pursue the suggestion of a two week trial during which there would be no more than two announcements every 10 minutes.

South West Trains has been talking to passenger groups following a number of complaints about the frequency of loud announcements on the station concourse.

RNIB director of engagement Fazilet Hadi said that her organisation was extremely disappointed that South West Trains was ignoring the needs of their blind and partially sighted rail passengers by considering turning off announcements at Waterloo Station.

"Many people are dependant on announcements to find the train they need, and any proposal to turn off announcements is wholly unacceptable.

"Losing the audio announcements currently played would be seriously detrimental to the many blind and partially sighted people who use Waterloo Station to travel to work, visit friends, or to attend hospital appointments."

The audio message "Visually impaired people please seek assistance from travel information points" would be broadcast every 10 minutes.

But Fazilet Hadi says:"Forcing people to seek assistance from the travel information points immediately takes away independence and can delay journeys or make them harder than they need to be.

"Reducing noise is important but announcements aren't noise, they are an essential way of supporting many disabled and older people to travel independently."

A spokesperson for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: "We've been engaging with a range of passenger representatives and local residents about London Waterloo station announcements, which are one of several channels we have for keeping customers updated on our services.

As part of these discussions, we have been looking at a range of mechanisms to gather views and ensure the announcements best meet the needs of all station users.

"We are planning to carry out a stakeholder survey shortly to find out more detail on their views, needs and aspirations. We fully understand the diverse needs of customers using our network and we are committed to ensuring they can continue to easily access our train services."

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