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Access to transport for people with disabilities - physical accessibility web forum 

Transport Committee

Thank you very much for taking the time to submit your views to the Transport Committee. Based on your experience, how accessible are public transport vehicles (buses, trains, taxis etc) and the physical infrastructure (bus stops, stations, airports etc)?

We used your submission, along with over 300 others from members of the public, to help inform the questions we put to Norman Baker MP on 3 June 2013

The Committee will now prepare a report for publication with recommendations for improving access to transport. The report will be informed by the written and oral evidence we received and the web forum. The Government is required to issue a written response to our recommendations within two months. Both our report and the Government's response will be published on our website.

Based on your experience, how accessible are public transport vehicles (buses, trains, taxis etc) and the physical infrastructure (bus stops, stations, airports etc.)? What are the current access barriers? What differences are there across the country? What examples of good design or good practice are there?

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152 Contributions (since 07 May 2013)
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Total results 152 (page 1 of 16)

Steve Manchip

05 June 2013 at 22:37

cuts in council budgets are effecting rural services disproportionately. Major Operators such as First, Stagecoach and Aviva cherrypick the denser routes, leaving smaller operators and community buses to try and serve most rural low density areas. Small operators rely on support from the Councils which is not over generous and likely to be reduced. Community buses rely on volunteers and fund raising to allow them to fund low desity routes which very often have a fair proportion of passengers with real mobility problems. Richer commuters and second home owners make very little effort to support these services as they are not effected and generally show little interest in the communities which they have invaded. Furhter cuts will move more disabled and people with age related mobility problems from their homes into town based homes or sheltered accomodation where they will be more isolated than before. You need to consult the smaller operators or voluntry community bus service providers to get the true picture. This has not been done because it needs real concern to tackle the problem properly, l am the Chairman of a charity that has provided accessible tranport to a very rural area for the past 35years. No one, politicians or civil servants, has talked to us or visited us for fact finding at any time. What is the real agenda for politicians at national level regarding people with real mobilty problems or those in wheel chairs, There are more votes in conurbations and they are easier to conveniently access. Make an effort and find the real problems. The town ones are far easier to solve with far less personal effort or commitment. Not enough votes in real rural areas only the pretend ones next to larger towns and cities.

Mark Smith

05 June 2013 at 16:55

Buses Here in Norwich I am really pleased to note that most public buses are now level floor access and have a low front step and this is often deployed by the drivers. Bus Driver awareness of blind passengers I often find iis good, but some bus drivers do not verbally acknowledge me when I get on the bus or give any indication where an empty seat is, leaving me to either ask other passengers or feel my way along the rows of seats. Often other passengers will assist me, especially using regular routes and buses going to and from work. The bus stops are plentiful and good in Norwich, but I'm very disappointed that the planned talking bus stop audio information services is still not up and running. This is especially frustrating when the necessary Softwware and hardware has been installed at certain central bus stops in Norwich City Centre. This would aid so many visually impaired bus users when at a bus stop to know which bus has fulled up and where its going etc. Taxis Locle private hire taxis in Norwich are very good, and it helps using the same firm all the time and getting to know the drivers. I am still somewhat puzzled why though the costs vary so much for private hire taxis around the country, as Norwich compared to Ipswich and York is £2 or £3 more per jourmey.

RCHL Green Lodge Respite Care Unit

05 June 2013 at 11:17

A comment from a parent whose son/daughter uses Green Lodge I would like to see resources set aside for the provision of wheelchair access to station platforms at Redbridge Station this has not been done for 36 years and is urgent

Bill Norman

04 June 2013 at 13:29

Locally • Buses tend to be variable depending on route and bus operator. • Bus stations are again variable in accessibility • Manual ramps tending to be reintroduced after issues with automatics and drooped kerbs • There are significant issues re ticket machines and ticket barriers at train and local Metro stations • Low liners now in place on all routes I believe • Airport now has a changing place and is reasonably accessible. This was a result of excellent campaigning by Mencap and Council colleagues

David Froggat

04 June 2013 at 11:38

Situation improving, but still many older buses in use which do not have dropped floors and sufficient space for a guide dog to lie out of the gangway with consequent risk of injury to the dog and anyone who may stumble over it.

Chris Odell

04 June 2013 at 11:33

the space on buses for guide dog owners (GDO) is limited. Space under seats is not suitable and the dogs slide on the floor. Non-slip floors and designated areas would be helpful. Also, drivers are often reluctant to help you find a seat or wait for you to sit before moving off. Driver training is needed.

Jo Church

04 June 2013 at 10:38

I would like to raise my concerns regarding the new Routemaster busses currently being introduced on some London bus routes... It is my understanding that these busses have 2 staircases and yet still only have space for 1 wheelchair. Please can you explain to me why this is so? Surely a more inclusive bus would have that the other way around - ie 1 staircase and spaces for 2 wheelchairs! I would wager that the designers of these busses have never actually used one, as if they had, they would realise that non seating areas are very useful spaces, not only used by wheelchair users, but by those with prams and those travelling with large, bulky items or luggage. Why on earth does a bus need 2 staircases?! Also, if you happen to be travelling with another wheelchair user, you have to get separate busses (that's only when the driver will let you on of course, as all too often they use the "we're too full, you'll have to get the next one" line, or "my ramps not working" - which on several occasions I have proven them to be liars as ok, they're right - the ramp will not work if the door is open!) Why couldn't accommodating 2 wheelchairs on a bus have been their priority rather than staircases? New York City busses all have space for 2 wheelchairs, Zurich busses have vast open areas which can accommodate many wheelchairs, and pushchairs AND people with bulky luggage no problem! Why are we not following their examples?


03 June 2013 at 14:54

Older buses without low floors or seating arrangements with additional space are difficult to use as they do not accommodate guide dogs well. These vehicles require my guide dog to lie underneath the seat which my current dog is unwilling to do. Modern buses usually only allow for one seat which provides more space and this is usually occupied by people with push chairs. Lothian Buses in Edinburgh should be praised for introducing new buses that have more than one seat with additional space at the front of the bus. Many train station platforms do not have tactile surfacing at the platform edge. The impact this has for visually impaired people is that they are unaware of the proximity of the platform edge. In my case I have fallen off the platform on to electrified rails and I also know of other people that have faced the same experience. I have raised the installation of tactile surfacing at Belgrove, High Street, Glasgow Queen Street low level, Glasgow Central low and high level, Argyll Street and Exhibition Centre stations with Network Rail and Transport Scotland who informed me that it is too expensive to install tactile surfacing at these stations. Perhaps they will do so once a visually impaired person is killed as a result of falling in front of a train.

Vikki Thompson

03 June 2013 at 14:35

I disagree completely that buses are inaccessible to visually impaired people in my experience. I am registered blind, own a guide dog and use a bus to get to work and return home every day. It seems like I never see the same bus driver twice. My dog takes me to the door of the bus and we get on. I pass my bus pass to the driver who puts it on the machine for me and hands it back to me with my ticket. When I ask him where there is a free seat that has room for my dog, 99% of them will tell me exactly where to find one and if necessary ask anyone in that seat politely if they would allow us to sit there. The driver will then shout to me when we have reached my stop and will sometimes even tell me if we're not right at our stop because of other buses in front. Almost all drivers are very helpful and we've only ever had one problem out of the thousands of times I have used buses in and around Edinburgh.

Sheila Foster

03 June 2013 at 14:15

1. Although stepping on a bus is not too difficult for me, once on the bus, trying to find a seat and a bar to hold on to is like a maze. Why can't all buses be laid out in the same way?. Trying to find something to hold on to when moving down the bus in order to get off is a dangerous nightmare. 2. Riding on the bus without knowing where I am is very stressful. If I miss my correct stop and then get off the bus, I am completely lost. If all buses had audible announcements, I would be able to relax, knowing exactly where I was, just like all the other passengers. Trams and trains have announcements, so should the buses. 3. Most drivers still need awareness training to help them understand how important it is to stop right up to the kerb, leaving no gaps. Also, to wait till I am sat down before moving . Life for a blind person is a constant use of intense concentration and stress. These few small adjustments would make our bus journeys much more relaxing, and give us the confidence to travel more. After all, we are only asking for the same experience that other passengers take for granted

Total results 152 (page 1 of 16)