Public transport still inaccessible, say young campaigners


Disabled people are still struggling to use public transport because it can be unsafe, unreliable or too expensive, an undercover investigation by young campaigners has revealed.
The report found that the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) had led to a “vast improvement” in the accessibility of public transport.
But members of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers network said they still often felt like second-class citizens when using trains, taxis, buses, coaches and the London underground network.
They blamed unreliable technology, poor staff disability awareness and inaccessible stations across the UK.
They also found that wheelchair-users were often forced to pay more to use public transport than non-disabled people because cheaper forms of transport were inaccessible.
Trailblazer Jessica Berry said: “It’s incredible that transport providers think the level of service they currently provide for disabled commuters is good enough.”
The report, End of the Line, was based on more than 200 mystery commuter journeys, and was welcomed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
It came two-and-a-half years after new duties for transport providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people came into force under the DDA.
The network called for the government, local authorities and transport providers to review their access policies, including a major review of access on buses and coaches.
The network also called for cheaper taxi travel for disabled people, and for improvements to the rail network’s disabled passenger reservation service, which they said restricted spontaneity and independence.
Transport minister Paul Clark welcomed the Trailblazers report. He said more than a third of trains and half the buses in the UK were now accessible.
All new trains, buses and coaches on scheduled routes must be accessible, and all buses and trains must meet accessibility standards within 10 years, he said.
He also pointed to the £370m Access for All programme for rail stations and the new EU regulations on air travel accessibility.
MPs and peers attended the Commons launch of the report, while Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson tabled an early day motion calling for action on its recommendations.
And Transport for London has asked to discuss the report with the network.