Back in July 2012, Transport for All, and some TfA members, wrote to the Transport Select Committee and urged them to conduct an inquiry into access to transport for disabled people. We are delighted that the Transport Select Committee is holding an Inquiry into the effectiveness of legislation on access to transport for disabled people.
With an ageing population, access to transport is an increasingly important issue. Furthermore, with 500,000 disabled people expected to lose DLA, many disabled people who currently get out and about with a Motability car or with Taxicard will no longer have this option, meaning that there will be an influx of disabled people onto a transport system which is not necessarily ready.
The Committee are calling for written evidence to the inquiry. This is a fantastic opportunity to highlight to MPs the issues that disabled and older people face every day using the transport network. Transport for All will be submitting evidence, but we urge all our members (individuals and organisations) to respond the committee’s call for evidence. Personal experience is particularly valuable.
A gap between the law and reality
Since 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has afforded disabled people rights to access public transport; and in 2005, the Act was amended to extend legislation to some transport vehicles, not just transport infrastructure.
The Equality Act (which superseded the DDA) states that it is unlawful for transport service providers to:
- discriminate against someone because of their disability by refusing to provide a service that is offered to other members of the public
- provide a lower standard of service to someone because of their disability
- provide a service on different terms to someone because of their disability
and obliges transport providers must make reasonable adjustments to avoid putting a disabled person at a disadvantage.
In addition, the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) and Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR) legislate access requirements for buses and trains.
However, as disabled and older people know all too well, there is a gap between what exists on the statute books and people’s lived experience of discrimination on public transport.
What the Committee need to know
Please respond to the following issues:
- Is transport legislation effective? Do you feel that you are treated equally as a disabled person? Is it comprehensive enough and is it enforced?
- Is information accessible for you? Can you plan a journey, find out timetable information and know about any delays or changes to your journey?
- Do staff provide adequate assistance for you and are they aware of your needs as a disabled person?
- Have you noticed any improvements to travelling since the Paralympics? What can be learnt from transport provision during the Paralympics?
More information on how to submit your evidence can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/disabled-people—tor/