An app to help blind and partially sighted passengers has been made available for Sutton station.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is working with Sight Loss Councils to extend the free use of Aira – an app that allows blind and partially sighted passengers to place a video call with a trained advisor who looks through the customer’s phone camera to guide them around the station.

GTR first launched and tralled Aira in June 2023 at East Croydon, Brighton, Blackfriars, and Stevenage.

It has now been made available at Sutton station, as well as Finsbury Park, Brent Cross West, Luton Airport Parkway, Bedford, Haywards Heath, Eastbourne, and Chichester.

Blind passenger Pierre Shlimon at Sutton said: "It was quite like being with a relative, having someone holding my arm.

"Everything was very well explained as he guided me along."

GTR’s Accessibility Lead, Carl Martin, said: “We want everyone to be able to use our services, regardless of their disability or need for assistance.

“We’re always on the lookout for innovative ways to improve, and extending this app to more stations could make a real difference to blind and partially sighted people.

“All our staff are trained to assist our customers, whatever their needs. We hope this app can improve the support we already offer blind and partially sighted customers to put them in control of their journeys.

“We’re grateful to Thomas Pocklington Trust and Sight Loss Councils for helping us spread the word to as many people as possible and helping us get feedback on this latest initiative.”

David Smith, Sight Loss Council Engagement Manager for Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “It is essential that everyone can travel independently and safely, and live the lives they want to lead.

"Sight Loss Councils are pleased to be working with Govia to expand this app, alongside a wider package of support designed to make transport accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

“As a blind person myself, one of the challenges with stations is they’re often large open spaces. This means that navigating to the ticket office or gateline to find a member of staff can be difficult.

“Having the support from an Aira agent means that I can confidently and independently navigate the station to locate passenger assistance and get to where I need to be.

"I can even drop by the coffee shop before heading to the platform."