A new app to aid communication for customers from the deaf community has been launched on the Transport for Wales network.
The app, called Interpreter Now, uses a video call style system to make communication between railway colleagues and deaf customers even easier.
Customers can download the free app and sign to an interpreter via the app through a video call, who will then relay the customer query to the member of TFW staff.
The interpreter will then be able to sign the answer back to the customer.
The app has already been a success on the Scot Rail network, but Transport for Wales are the first transport operator to introduce this type of technology in Wales.
Accessibility and Inclusion Manager for Transport for Wales, Dr Robert Gravelle, said:
“We are extremely proud to be the first transport provider in Wales to provide such support for the Deaf BSL-using community.
“Each and every customer on our network matters and when technology exists to make their lives easier, the obvious thing to do is utilise that technology.
“I look forward to this new app helping us take a further step towards providing fully accessible journeys for all our customers.”
This week saw the official launch of the app in partnership with the Cardiff Deaf Centre, with members invited to put it to the test on a short journey.
And members gave it a big thumbs up.
Edward Jenkins, BEM and Vice Chairman of the Cardiff Deaf Community, said:
“For a member of the deaf community to have a device like this in their pocket, that aids communication this way, is just incredible and will open so many doors that they otherwise may not have been able to get through. To be able to turn up at the station and actually talk to somebody and tell them what you want in a simple and easy manner like this, is just amazing.”
Jonathan Bosman, member of the deaf community who trialled the app at Cardiff Central, added:
“It’s amazing not having to write things down which can be an arduous process. Going to the ticket office has always been quite a difficult thing to do in terms of communication, so this app makes that experience much easier. I’m looking forward to becoming more familiar with the app and using it in the future”.
The app was developed by Interpreter Now, who Transport for Wales are proud to be partnering with on this project.
Jonathan Colligan, Business Developer of InterpreterNow, added:
“The fact that Transport for Wales has recognised the importance of inclusion in its operation signifies Wales as a country of great culture and openness within its community.”
Customers can download the Interpreter Now app for free on Android or iOS by searching Interpreter Now.