Conservative conference: Public transport needs ‘change in mindset’


Changing people’s attitudes is more likely to produce improvements in accessible transport than new legislation, according to the minister for disabled people.

Maria Miller told a fringe event at the Conservative conference in Birmingham that she believed legislation was “useful” but not enough to “make the sort of difference we need” to public transport barriers.

She said improvements were more likely through trying to secure a “mindset change”.

She said: “Changing the way people think about disabled people is going to be the way I believe we are going to yield lasting results.”

She said she had been working with the Office for Disability Issues “to champion the needs of disabled people across government to try and deliver the sort of mindset change I am talking about”.

And she told the event – promoting a Guide Dogs campaign for audio-visual information to be introduced on buses across the country – she hoped improvements to accessible transport introduced for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics would lead to similar improvements across the country.

She said: “The challenge now is how to take forward all the best of what works for the Olympics and roll this out across the country.”

Richard Leaman, chief executive of Guide Dogs, told the event: “It’s a bit of a shame if you spend £50,000 on a guide dog if the guide dog owner is not prepared or able to get on a bus and go somewhere.”

He said audio-visual information on buses would “make all the difference”.

5 October 2010