Passenger Focus response to the Transport Select Committee’s Inquiry effectiveness of legislation relating to transport for disabled people
07 June 2013
Passenger Focus welcomes the opportunity to present evidence to the Committee as we and our predecessor bodies have long been concerned with many aspects of transport accessibility. We undertake the (rail) National Passenger Survey (NPS) and the Bus Passenger Survey (BPS) to gauge passengers’ views during the journey being made at that time.
We acknowledge the huge strides made in enhancing accessibility of the public transport network in recent years; this improvement is borne out by our research findings, yet parts of the network remain inaccessible to some people – or those people believe it to be so. Even where it is technically accessible, potential passengers may not be able to obtain sufficient details to assure them that the journey is possible. Some disabled people have attempted to make journeys by public transport but found the experience too difficult to repeat, or the expected assistance has proven ineffective or has failed entirely. Demand for accessible public transport can only increase as the population ages and people still wish to retain their ability to travel, especially if age, disability or resources prevent them from using private transport. The general increase in population will fuel further demand for public transport.
We welcome the publication late in December 2012 of the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) report Transport for Everyone: an action plan to improve accessibility for all. It echoes many of the points which we make in this response
We are convinced of the benefits which sound guidance, specialist advice and knowledge can bring to disability matters in the field of transport. DPTAC currently performs this function but Government is consulting on future arrangements. Whatever the decision we believe there is a need for a forum which can harness collective expertise and knowledge on disability matters and give advice based on that experience. Such a body must have an over-arching concern with all forms of transport and interchange arrangements.