The Department for Transport published a new Inclusive Transport Strategy on 25 July 2018 that aims to improve accessibility across the UK’s transport network for disabled people.
It is hoped that the new measures will make travel fully accessible and inclusive for disabled passengers by 2030. Funds of up to £300 million for the ‘Access for All’ programme are being made available for long-overdue improvements to our travel network and this is being billed as part of a government drive to create a more inclusive society.
As well as investing in the accessibility of the rail infrastructure, the strategy includes plans for a ‘league table’ to shine a light on those train operators that deliver the best service for disabled travellers. Some of the money will be used on providing accessible toilets at motorway service stations.
Some of the money will go on improving Passenger Assist, the system disabled people use to book assistance when they travel. This booking system is vital for many disabled people and is in much need of an overhaul.
Another £2 million is being made available to improve audio-visual technology on buses, which means that disabled passengers, particularly those with hearing or sight loss, will be better placed to navigate bus routes. It has been revealed that some of the funds will also be set aside for developing more inclusive and innovative technology.
The new Inclusive Transport Strategy was developed following the Accessibility Action Plan consultation that have over 1,000 responses from disabled people and passenger groups. Crucially, the strategy includes raising awareness on disabled passengers’ rights, plans for staff training and improvements to accessible information.
Ross Linnett, founder & CEO of Recite Me said:
“The Inclusive Transport Strategy is comprehensive and includes detailed plans that will enhance the accessibility of transport in the UK.
“I am particularly pleased to see that, along with all the enhancements to our travel infrastructure, the 12-year strategy recognises the need to make improvements to accessible information.
“The vast majority of travel information is now accessed be passengers via websites or apps, it is essential that travel operators and the government don’t overlook the need for improving digital accessibility inclusion as part of the Inclusive Transport Strategy.”