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Disabled passengers across the UK are to benefit from accessibility improvements at 124 train stations thanks to a government fund of £20 million.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement today (26th Feb 2020) following the launch of a new government campaign – it’s everyone’s journey – earlier this week to improve the experiences of disabled passengers on public transport.
Access for All
The latest improvements, funded through the Access for All programme, will include new lifts, customer information screens and accessible toilets.
Mr Shapps said: “The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives - but is not the reality for everyone. I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 124 train stations across the country more accessible - a key part of leveling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all. This is just the start of a much more ambitious agenda. My goal is to go much further in the years ahead to help ensure that our country’s transport system becomes one of the most accessible in the world.”
The £20 million announced today is part of a £300 million package announced last year which is already providing accessible, step free routes at 73 stations across the UK.
Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: “Everyone using our rail network deserves platforms and toilets they can use and this £20 million investment to improve 124 railway stations across the country will make a huge difference to disabled people. This government is committed to levelling up the playing field and later this year we’ll launch a national strategy which will ensure disabled people have equal access to all spheres of life.”
‘it’s everyone’s journey’
This follows the launch of the it’s everyone’s journey advertising campaign aims to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive, raising awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments or hidden disabilities, and will also prompt members of the public to consider how their behaviour might impact others.
Research from the Department for Transport has indicated the behaviours that can make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for another passenger who may require a seat or need help.
Furthermore, the DfT has also launched its Inclusive Transport Leaders scheme. This is an accreditation scheme for operators, such as bus and train companies, which will encourage, celebrate and promote best practice in inclusive transport.
These improvements form part of the wider Inclusive Transport Strategy and supports the government’s ambition of achieving equal access for all on public transport.
A full list of the stations that will benefit from the funding can be found here.
“This is an overdue but very welcome announcement, which will hopefully ease some of the current difficulties for people with disabilities when travelling by rail”
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