SalaBlu online: train assistance in a few clicks

During All Saint’s Day long weekend, I had the chance to make a short trip by train. Of course, to make sure avoiding issues hopping on and off the train (waiting for when Italy will reach the full autonomous accessibility, for passengers with motoric disabilities too, as it happens already since a long time in other countries… but let’s keep hoping!), a few days before the departure, I requested the assistance I need, through the standard Trenitalia procedure. Everything went smoothly, both during the leaving and the return, also thanks to the assistance of very kind and friendly operators. I didn’t know that Trenitalia has just launched a brand new platform (actually, a little bit hidden inside the website) to request more quickly the assistance service that fits best with each passenger’ specific needs: SalaBlu online.

SalaBlu online

Picture ©Trenitalia

how to use salablu online?

To access SalaBlu online, you must sign up on the platform (any existing access data used on Trenitalia website isn’t worth), filling the form with the requested info: personal data, e-mail, phone, preferred assistance service (you can pick up to 3 different ones, according to your specific disability) and authorization to data usage for delivering the service (the second authorization, referred to the service quality, is optional). Once you’ve completed the sign-up procedure clicking on “Conferma”, you’ll get an e-mail message with a link to confirm your registration and setting up a password to access the service.

how to request assistance through SALABLU ONLINE?

Once you’ve logged in, clicking on “Proposte di viaggio”, you’ll see a screenshot where you can select the data about the trip you’re interested in, using, where available, the drop-down menus: departure date, departure time slot, departure and arrival stations. Thereafter, you’ll reach a screen summarizing the trip solutions fitting with the criteria you’ve specified earlier: just choose your preferred one clicking on the two arrows to reach the screenshot reserved to the details about the assistance service you have requested. For instance, in case of assistance for motoric disability, you’ll have to specify if you need help to hop on and off the train, if you need the lift truck and the meeting points, plus your trip companion’s data (if any). Once you have filled this screen as well, your assistance request is registered on the system and processed by the involved blue rooms: you can check the status of your request through “Proposte di viaggio”, whenever you want.

In conclusion, essentially, now, thanks to SalaBlu online, you can do more quickly and in total autonomy what you previously used to do through e-mail or phone, with a longer procedure (and, sometimes, risking to buy a trip solution not fitting with the assistance service you need). Plus, should you have doubts, the “Guide” is just one click away!

Have you tested this service already? What do you think about it?

 

More accessible railway stations: RFI’ commitment

Who daily lives with any disability and has- for business, study or leisure reasons- to take the train, knows how tricky this experience can be, even though the availability of assistance services is granted in the overwhelming majority of the Italian railway stations.

Stations - Milan Central

Milan Central Station

On the occasion of the XV National day for the architectonical barriers removal, on October 1st, RFI (Italian Railway Network),  companioning with FIABA, a non-profit association that has been fighting for years to remove architectonical barriers, officially announced its plan to improve its stations accessibility and usability for all the passengers.

Planned interventions include:

  • elevating sidewalks (55 cm from the platform plan) to make it easy hopping on and off the trains;
  • redeveloping passages and building new ramps to access the platforms;
  • activating elevators;
  • installing tactile paths and maps for visually impaired passengers;
  • building new platform roofs and redeveloping the existent ones.
Stations - Milan Central Station

Milan Central Station gallery

Furthermore, public information systems, both video and audio, will be improved, installing new monitors and sound diffusion systems and improving the station signage and lighting. The plan also includes interventions on the stations access areas, building parking lots, stalls for 2-wheels vehicles stop and appropriate systems facilitating the travellers hopping on and off, without bicycles on their shoulders. Digital technologies will also be more used, to improve the “user experience” for all the passengers, speeding up the access to platform and the electronic ticket validation and making it easier to find real time info about train circulation and more.

Renewal and removal of architectonical barriers interventions, in 2017, will involve 50 railway stations all over Italy and likewise in 2018. Is that going to be enough to, at last, ease train commuting for all the passengers? We do hope so!

What’s your experience travelling by train and in the stations? Let’s share it in the comments!

 

Travelling by train without any care? You can!

If you’re making plans for the upcoming summer holidays, or even just a weekend trip, and you’re wondering how to move by train despite wheelchair, crutches or any other  obstacle, I’ve got good news for you: all the national and international carriers provide the so-called “reduced mobility passengers” with assistance (with different procedures depending on trains and stations!) to hop on and off the wagon and, in many cases, particularly convenient prices. But let’s go in order and see how to plan the journey on time.

train

  • Trenitalia offers an ad hoc assistance service, reserved to people with motoric or sensory disability (both permanent or temporary), psychic disabled people, elderly people and pregnant women. To benefit from it, you need to send, with at least 48 hours notice, a request to the blue room of the station you’re leaving from (here you have the list of the blue rooms, including timetables and details about the served stations), going there in person, sending an e-mail (you’ll find the contacts for each station in the above list) or calling the toll free number 800 90 60 60, specifying the details of your journey, the assistance you need and the meeting point you prefer, plus a telephone number for any communication. Thereafter, you only have to wait for the confirmation mail and/or SMS, where you’ll find also the meeting time (usually, 30 minutes before the train departure). There’s no need to send the request to the station you’ll leave back, usually: the blue room of the station you’re leaving from will notice its colleagues, who will set everything. The service is available in almost all the stations of Trenitalia group, but pay attention: depending on the stations or the type of train (for instance, so far, not all the regional trains are equipped to allow the usage of a lift truck, needed to guarantee the access on board to people using a wheelchair or with severe walking issues), something could change. So, my advice (based on my own experience…) is to always contact the blue room of the departure station before booking your journey, so that you can properly plan everything! Furthermore, on Trenitalia website you can find a simplified buying procedure reserved to reduced mobility customers who’d need it, plus the possibility to book and pay the tickets for reduced mobility passengers and (if any) their companions with most favourable conditions, thanks to the Postoblu.
  • Italo is committed to guarantee the maximum accessibility to passengers with motoric or sensory issues on their train convoys, too. There you’ll find both reserved seats for passengers who use a wheelchair and equipped toilets for motoric disabled people, plus Braille signage for visually impaired passengers. You can request the service you need only calling Pronto Italo contact center at 06 07 08 at least 12 hours before departure. Another difference compared with Trenitalia: when booking, you must also submit documents certifying your disability, both permanent or temporary.
  • Are you ready to leave? Enjoy your trip!