On Monday 21st March, Transport for All took Andrew Jones MP on a trip to show him the reality of public transport access as part of our #GetYourMPOnBoard campaign.
Alan Benson, who uses an electric wheelchair and Faryal Velmi, Director of TfA travelled from Twickenham Rail station using Train, Tube and Bus to the Department of Transport in Central London. They raised many issues, from the lack of spontaneous ‘Turn Up and Go’ assistance available across UK’s rail network, to the issue of only 25% of the Tube network being step-free, and the need to evolve bus design so that disabled people can travel with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.
The need to include robust guidelines in the upcoming Bus Bill around accessibility was also discussed. Finally TfA voiced serious concerns around the cuts to ESA by £30 which will cause much hardship to thousands of disabled and older people.
Alan Benson, a Trustee of Transport for All, said:
“Even in 2016 many disabled people have to severely restrict their lives or at worst are stuck in their homes because of inaccessible transport. Disabled people make a third fewer trips than non-disabled people. Three quarters of disabled people say they experience barriers to using public transport”.
“Transport for All are calling on MPs to improve bus accessibility through the Bus Bill. At the moment, bus drivers must ask buggy users to move if a wheelchair user wants to board by law, but many bus drivers do not bother asking. TfA are urging MPs to support statutory guidance to the Bus Bill which would set out clear duties for bus companies to support disabled passengers”.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:
“It was good to meet the team and I’m grateful for this proper insight into the challenges disabled people face, which reaffirms why this is a key part of our agenda.”
“We’ve made significant progress since 2010 in improving accessibility on public transport. 89% of buses are now fully accessible, compared to 59% in 2010, and by 2019 hundreds of railway stations will have step-free access – but there is always more we can do.
“Last month we hosted the UK’s first mental health and transport summit and we continue to work with transport operators to ensure they put the needs of disabled people at the heart of their services.”