Government’s strategy and multi-million-pound investment to make transport network fully accessible
Released by the Department for Transport on 25th July, the Government has set out plans and a multi-million-pound budget to improve accessibility across all modes of transport for disabled people.
With a goal of making transport fully inclusive for everyone by 2030, £300 million has been made available to improve the UK’s transport network to enable disabled passengers to travel confidently and easily, a move which extends the Government’s Access for All programme.
The Department for Transport has outlined its Inclusive Transport Strategy, which includes investment in accessible infrastructure in railways, producing league tables which showcase operators that are delivering the best service for disabled people, and funding for Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations.
Transport Accessibility Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Transport is at the heart of how we live our lives. It helps us get to work, stay in touch with friends and family, and access vital services like healthcare and education.
“But 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.”
Other measures announced by the Department for Transport include supporting the Rail Delivery Group to improve and simplify Passenger Assist – the system disabled passengers use to book assistance on the rail network.
An additional part of the strategy is an allocated £2 million for audio and visual equipment on buses and a £2 million passenger awareness campaign to spread awareness about disability and reduce hate crime.
It has also been proposed that future technology should incorporate fully inclusive designs from the beginning.
The work comes ahead of the Government’s Aviation Strategy, which will set out further measures to improve airport and flying experiences for disabled people.
Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive at disability charity Scope, commented: “It’s positive to see this commitment from the government. There is a lot of work to do to bring our transport system up to scratch.
“Disabled people face unnecessary difficulties using all parts of the transport network every day.”
Mark also highlighted the charity’s research which revealed that 40 percent of disabled people have had difficulties using trains as well as other problems while travelling where people have received poor service or have been let down as a result of poor infrastructure.
The Inclusive Transport Strategy also includes raising awareness and enforcement of passengers’ rights, staff training and improvements to accessible information.