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04.04.19

DfT’s £300m scheme to see disabled access at 73 railway stations improved

The DfT has announced a £300m investment to see disabled access improved at 73 UK rail stations.

Lifts, adjustable ticket counters, and footbridges will be among the new measures announced by transport accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani to be brought in over the next five years.

The changes, part of the DfT’s inclusive growth strategy, aims to make it easier for disabled people, as well those with heart conditions, children or luggage, to use the railway.

A total of 73 stations have been selected based on criteria including their usage, the level of local disability, value for money, and other local factors, and were chosen to represent a fair geographical spread.

Making the announcement, Nusrat Ghani said: “Transport is vital for connecting people with work, friends and family, but also to enable them to enjoy visiting some of the wonderful cultural, historical and natural sites across the UK.

“We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently, which is why I am delighted to announce this roll out of upgrades across the rail network.

“Over the next five years these newly accessible stations will open up routes across the country, helping us move closer to a transport sector that is truly accessible.”

Responding to the announcement, the Rail Delivery Group’s regional director Robert Nisbet, said: “We want even more people to be able to access the opportunities that travelling by train opens up and this funding will help to support that aim.

“We know there is a lot of work still to do which is why we are also investing billions of pounds in more accessible carriages, better technology and station upgrades to make the railway even more accessible.”

The Access for All programme was first launched in 2006, and has seen 1,500 stations given small scale improvements such as accessible toilets and platform humps.

The chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, Keith Richards, said it was “crucial to continually build on that.”

He commented: “The announcement is very welcome and must go hand-in-hand with clear and practical information to ensure that disabled people are aware of what improvements have been made, and that more travel options are now possible as a result.

“We are working with the government to deliver a commitment to accelerate improvements, to target the funding effectively, and to monitor and assess outcomes.”

Image credit - Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

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