New investment for rail station improvements a welcome step for disabled passengers
Commenting one year on from the launch of the Government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy about the opening of a new £20m government accessibility improvements fund for the rail network announced today, Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said:
“This new investment in small scale accessibility improvements at stations is a welcome move to help rail passengers with disabilities travel freely and with greater confidence on the network.
“We know that many disabled travellers report receiving a good service, but that there is still a long way to go until people with disabilities have full access to trains and station facilities. The rail industry and their staff must now get behind all the changes required to deliver the more accessible network of stations promised.
“We know from the National Rail Passenger Survey that small changes can mean big improvements for all passengers, including those with disabilities. Passengers with disabilities must not continue to experience a mixed response to their requests for help. Operators must ensure that all booked help arrives, and that the correct help is provided.”
Notes for Editors
A range of accessibility challenges that arises for disabled rail users were explored in research undertaken in 2017 prior to the publication of the Inclusive Transport Strategy. This work looked at the experience of disabled rail passengers, was commissioned by Transport Focus for the Department of Transport from research agency Illuminas, with additional workshops carried out by the Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (RICA, now Research Institute for Disabled Consumers RiDC).
A summary of this research – Research on experiences of disabled rail passengers – is also published today by DfT. Among other things this research confirmed in 2017 that two thirds of disabled passengers reported experiencing at least one problem during their rail journey.
To accompany the DfT summary research report Transport Focus has also published additional research information.
Transport Focus has long held concerns about the efficacy of passenger assistance (first examined closely in research published in 2014).
It also monitors the disabled passenger experience closely within the National Rail Passenger Survey, published twice a year.