On 21st October, TfA held an event at City Hall to celebrate our work within the accessible transport sector and launch the annual report.
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Vice chair of the GLA’s Transport Committee, arranged for TfA to hold their event in City Hall. Over 70 people, including councillors, transport providers, disabled people’s organisation representatives and TfA members came along to help us celebrate.
During the drinks reception, Boris himself popped in to see what was happening, and many older and disabled Londoners were quick to get their views across to him.
In her speech, TfA Director Faryal Velmi spoke about the work that Transport for All does, its impact and why accessible transport in 2010 is so important;
“We don’t want much, just an accessible, safe and affordable public transport system. This is our right, a right to live independently, a right to be able to get from A to B.
“Transport for All has two roles; one is to continue to campaign and lobby for improvement, to ensure the political will is there and applied where needed. Second is to advise and empower older people to use the services that are available now, and how to negotiate the gaps steps and obstacles in our accessible network.
“We run a dedicated transport helpline, which answers queries about everything from Blue Badges to journey planning. TfA have visted and given presentations to community groups and forums all over London.
We have produced a number of high quality information resources, such as GET MOVING, our guide to accessible transport in London. Our website is a one stop shop for everything from local community transport infomation to downloading a railcard application form.
This year alone, we have set up a pan-London mobility forum, a Transport Action project and worked with CTA UK to produce a business handbook aimed at community transport organisations.
“The economy is affecting a lot of people, but the 28% cuts to the public sector will have a huge impact on the voluntary sector. It is important now that disabled people and disabled people’s organisations come together.“
Following Faryal’s speech, there was a presentation called 14 Voices, delivered by seven TfA members. 14 Voices is based on the real cases that TfA has come across over the years. The presentation gave a good insight into the issues that disabled people face when it comes to transport in London.
The perfomance was followed by speaker Caroline Pidgeon AM, who talked about her extensive work around accessible transport;
“London buses is a passion for me, and if the Mayor had done with the buses what he has done with bicycles, we would not have the issues we have today. The services are not acceptable and there are serious issues not being looked at. Bus stops leaving people in the rain, drivers with bad attitudes, ramps not working, the list goes on.
Dial-a-Ride is a lifeline across London, but I hear horror stories about people being left stranded. I hope the Mayor will take on board the improvements we have recommended.“
Finally we heard from Mubin Haq, Head of Policy and Grants for Trust for London, who gave a fascinating speech about what the cuts will mean for both funders and the voluntary sector, and what sorts of things funders will be looking for during a time when demand for grants will dramatically increase as organisations lose funding from statutory bodies;
“We, as independent funder cannot pick up the cuts, that is not what we do, and it is not protecting you either. If your funding is cut, we will try to help you look at other ways to support your work. It is about what you actually do. Recheck what you are doing, is it actually needed, are you sticking to your mission?“
He also had some words of praise for Transport for All after reading our annual review;
“If you look at the money Transport for All gets, what is delivered is amazing! It is such a small team and with £100,000, they put some of us to shame. Their campaigning spirit is needed more than ever.“