You probably missed it back in July, when we were enjoying long, hot sunny days but, the Government slipped out a ‘new strategy’ to improve accessibility across all types of travel for people with disabilities. It makes available £300 million to make transport accessible for all passengers by 2030. The Inclusive Transport Strategy (ITS) will include:
- £2 million to install Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations, supporting disabled people to travel easily and comfortably on the road network
- £2 million for audio and visual equipment on buses, so that passengers on almost every bus will know where and when to alight
- A £2 million passenger awareness campaign to increase disability awareness and reduce hate crime on our network
- An accreditation scheme for transport operators to receive formal recognition for positive work to improve disabled passengers’ experiences, such as training frontline staff and senior management on disability awareness
- Ensuring future technology is designed inclusively from the outset, with opportunities sought to harness innovation
- 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.
This work comes ahead of the government’s Aviation transport strategy, which will set out further measures to improve the airport and flying experience for disabled people. This could include working with industry to provide better staff training, offering improved on-board facilities and exploring possible changes to aircraft design.
Keith Richards, Chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, 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.
It follows an announcement in May, when the Prime Minister said she wanted people to enjoy an extra 5 years of healthy and independent living by 2035, while also narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest.
Let’s hope all this comes good!