In July, we met the new Deputy Mayor for Transport Valerie Shawcross, to share with her our concerns and aspirations regarding transport accessibility in London.
Transport for All (TfA) warmly welcome her appointment to this new role. Valerie Shawcross has always been an advocate of our cause. In the last 15 years at City Hall, she has led many important investigations and made key recommendations, covering amongst other things improvements to Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard. You may remember that in January, TfA members awarded her the Maggie Sarragne Outstanding Achievement Award. We have high hopes that this new Mayoral term will see much progress around transport access.
TfA gave evidence to the recent House of Lords review into the Equality Act 2010 in which we expressed our frustrations that the Act and indeed the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) before it haven’t brought about the transport equality for disabled people that we would like to see.
There is however no doubt that with some notable exceptions, the situation with transport access in London is far better than in the rest of the country. Transport for London has definitely been one of the most progressive transport authorities in the country when it comes to accessibility.
The pace of progress however does often feel achingly slow. Whilst the era of austerity plays a major part in this, we are in particular very concerned that the ending of the government subsidy to TfL will have a direct impact on what accessibility improvements are possible.
Improving transport access can indeed yield many more possible economic and social advantages than just ensuring disabled and older citizens can travel and live their lives. We therefore look forward to the political will and ring-fenced funding that we need to build a transport network that all of London’s citizens can use with ease and independence.