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Disabled access to rail increases by 165%

More disabled people are travelling by train than ever before, new data suggests. The number of journeys made using a Disabled Person’s Railcard has increased by 165% since 2001-02 to nearly 4,000,000.

ATOC set up the first National Rail Accessibility Group, which launched this week, to facilitate discussion on policy and improvements to further boost accessibility. The forum included passengers, campaigners, MPs and rail industry professionals.

Michael Roberts, chief executive at ATOC, said: “A great deal of work has gone into improving access to the country’s rail network for disabled passengers but we know that there is a long way to go. That’s why we are playing a leading role in bringing passengers, campaigners and the industry together to help improve access to rail for disabled people.”

Julian Huppert, Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, who chaired the event, said: “It is only when you see our transport system through the eyes of a disabled person that you realise the challenges they face accomplishing tasks that we take for granted.
“I hope the launch of the National Rail Accessibility Group will mark a turning point in the way disabled people are treated across our transport network and transport operators, our government and local authorities will all play their part in bringing about positive change.”

Transport minister Norman Baker added: “Following this excellent result we need to consider what lessons can be learned for the everyday running of the network as we welcome ever increasing numbers of passengers including those with disabilities.

“I see this new group as a welcome means of exchanging experience, ideas and best practice between rail users and providers and wish it much success.”

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