Trials are taking place at Brighton station of a new app to help blind and partially sighted people find information more quickly.

The app connects them to a remote adviser who then uses the passenger’s smartphone camera to guide them around the station.

Passengers can ask an adviser speaking on their phone to help them with anything from checking the departure board and locating a platform to finding a member of staff, ticket machine or toilet.

East Sussex Sight Loss Council member and volunteer Linn Davies from Brighton said: “As blind and partially sighted people, we rely heavily on public transport to access work and medical and social appointments. Having good interconnecting public transport services is therefore vitally important, both to lead fulfilled lives, and to get around smoothly and safely from A to B.

“Using the app at Brighton station highlighted to me what true independence can look like. I was very impressed with the way the agent took me to the ticket office and later to a ticket machine and the detail in which they described my environment down to details such as cones on the floor or people coming towards me with suitcases. I can’t wait to use it more on my future travels.”

David Smith, Sight Loss Council engagement manager, said: “We believe everyone should be able to travel independently and safely, and live the lives they want to lead. We are proud of our ongoing work with transport providers to make this happen through developing new ways of working and trialling new apps.”

GTR is covering the cost of the service using the Aira app which can be downloaded on the Apple app and Google Play stores.

GTR’s Accessibility Lead, Carl Martin, said: “We want everyone to have the confidence to travel with us, no matter what their disability or need for assistance, so we’re always on the lookout for innovative ways to improve.

“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.”

Woman with white stick holds mobile phone on railway station concourse to be guided via app to ticket machines