COMMONS

Government's response to report into disabled access to transport published

06 December 2013

The Transport Committee publishes the Government Response to its report into access to transport for disabled people.

Publishing the Government's response to its inquiry into Access to Transport for Disabled People, the Transport Select Committee warned today that more needs to be done to address the needs of disabled bus users.

Chair's comments

Commenting on the responses, Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"It's disappointing that the DfT has rejected our call to require bus operators to introduce audio-visual systems across the bus network and to give all bus and coach drivers disability awareness training. We do not believe that these measures would be particularly burdensome on the industry, given the benefits to all passengers."

Louise Ellman added,

"This approach to achieving equal access in bus travel is insufficient by comparison with efforts being made across the rail industry to improve the experience of disabled travellers. Nevertheless, measures being taken by train operators are often far from perfect so we shall be watching closely for evidence of improvement."

The Committee welcomes the DfT's acknowledgement that changes in the staffing level at rail stations are likely to impact on the journeys of disabled people and  welcomes the Government's assertion that "future changes to ticket office opening hours should mean no reduction overall, and in some cases [should deliver] an improvement, to the services provided to disabled passengers".

Aware of their rights

The DfT also proposes work by the Office of Rail Regulation to make sure that disabled people are fully aware of their rights when using the rail network. In addition it has launched a survey by Passenger Focus to monitor the quality of Passenger Assist, the service helping people use the rail network. Both of these were recommendations by the Committee.

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has written to the Committee confirming it has begun an initiative to identify point-to-point routes in London where staff are available from first to last train to provide assistance. It also intends to produce passenger guidance  about such journeys possible on a "turn-up-and-go" basis that will be piloted in 2014 and has begun to develop more specific guidance for passengers about when and why assistance should still be booked.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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