HS2

25.07.18

£300m inclusion scheme in the works to make transport accessible by 2030

All disabled passengers can travel confidently and easily following a £300m investment from the DfT.

The department’s ‘Inclusive Transport Strategy’ will introduce the multi-million-pound plans which includes investment in rail accessibility infrastructure, commitments to produce ‘league tables’ highlighting the best railway service for disabled people, and funding for accessible toilets at motorway service stations.

The funding worth £300m will also be put into extending the government’s ‘Access for All’ programme, making railway stations more accessible, including through step-free access.

Other measures announced today include supporting the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to improve and simplify ‘Passenger Assist’ – the system disabled passengers use to book assistance on the rail network.

Train operators will be held to account for delivering on this service, ensuring they compensate passengers if the booked assistance is not provided.

Transport accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani said: “For our ageing population and the fifth of people who are disabled, access to transport can be far from straightforward.

“This Inclusive Transport Strategy is the first step in achieving a genuinely inclusive transport network, which meets the needs of all people, regardless of whether they are disabled or not.”

As much as £2m will also be provided for passenger awareness campaigns to increase disability awareness and reduce hate crime on the rail networks.

Keith Richards, chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), said: “DPTAC welcomes the publication of the ITS and the government’s commitments to better meeting the needs of disabled people.

“Our role, as independent statutory advisor, is to offer our advice as the ITS is delivered. As a ‘critical friend’ we will hold the government to account for delivering the strategy and for securing good outcomes for disabled people.”

Measures announced to enhance passenger experience include the ensuring that future technology is designed exclusively from the outset, with opportunities sought to harness information.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope noted that 40% of disabled people experience probleems using trains.

He added: “From airports to buses we’ve heard too many horror stories of disabled people let down by poor infrastructure, bad service, or being treated as an afterthought . This urgently needs to change.

“A genuinely inclusive transport network will make it much easier for disabled people to get to work, see family, and be part of their community.”

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Image credit: Orbon Alija

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