Disabled passengers to benefit from nationwide rail station accessibility improvements
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that 124 rail stations across Great Britain are set to receive a share of a new £20 million government fund for accessibility improvements such as new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.
These accessibility improvements, funded through the Government’s Access for All programme, are designed to improve the passenger experience and create more inclusive environments.
In April 2019, the Access for All programme provided a £300 million funding boost to 73 stations in the UK to help make them more accessible to elderly and disabled people.
Now, the new £20 million fund comes as a new government campaign launched this week to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport. The ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ campaign highlights how everyone can play a part in making public transport inclusive.
According to DfT research, behaviours that make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for a fellow passenger who might need a seat or be in distress.
The new campaign aims to raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments, and will also prompt members of the public to think and consider how their behaviour might impact others.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives – but is not the reality for everyone.
“I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 124 train stations across the country more accessible – a key part of levelling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all.”
Alongside the new campaign, DfT has also launched its Inclusive Transport Leaders scheme, an accreditation scheme which will promote best practice in inclusive transport and help improve the travelling experiences of disabled and elderly people as well as those with restricted mobility.
These improvements form part of the wider Inclusive Transport Strategy and support the government’s ambition of achieving equal access for all on public transport.
Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson commented: “Everyone using our rail network deserves platforms and toilets they can use and this £20 million investment to improve 124 railway stations across the country will make a huge difference to disabled people.
“This government is committed to levelling up the playing field and later this year we’ll launch a national strategy which will ensure disabled people have equal access to all spheres of life.”