Transport User Voice – November 2019 – Accessibility: what still needs to be done?

29 October 2019

Update from the forum we held in October

We held our regular accessibility forum earlier this month – another useful opportunity to get real insight into the progress being made on accessibility issues.

The event was chaired by our Board member Keith Richards with presentations from industry representatives as well as some interesting (and heated) discussions on accessibility issues.

  • Claire Clark from the Office of Rail and Road spoke on Accessible Travel Policies – Next Steps.
  • Julia Christie from Rolling Stock Commercial and Jenny Hicks from the Department for Transport covered accessible trains and the dispensations needed to allow older trains to continue in service after 1 January 2020 by which time trains should all be accessible.
  • Dominic Lund-Conlon from the Rail Delivery Group talked about the physical compliance of trains from 1 January 2020.

We ran workshops on accessibility issues during both planned and unplanned engineering works, unplanned lack of facilities and personal difficulties, even when the train service is running normally.

Some discussion points included:

  • The fact that one in five assistance requests fail, although work on the new Accessible Travel Policies’ requirements will help tackle this.
  • Reduced booking deadlines for assistance have been promised for a long time and real movement is now to take place, though it will still fall short of turn-up-and-go on all routes.
  • Some trains which still do not fully meet the 2020 accessibility criteria will have to remain in service a little longer than anticipated.

In all, it was a positive event with attendees providing valuable feedback. The full notes of the forum will be published on our website soon.

We plan on doing other similar accessibility events next year, looking at the successes of the processes following the 2020 deadline.

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