An announcement by the Department for Transport to invest £300 million in making railway stations more accessible has been welcomed by Muscular Dystrophy UK.
The DfT’s Inclusive Transport Strategy includes investment in rail accessibility infrastructure, compensation for disabled passengers if booked assistance is not provided, and a league table of the best-performing companies.
There is still a long way to go until we can say public transport is accessible for all – but Muscular Dystrophy UK is encouraged to see that investment is being made. Over the years we have campaigned for accessible public transport, meeting MPs and peers and pushing for change. Our Trailblazers have also published two End of the Line reports, which found that:
- 67% had experienced problems getting on a bus, owing to the attitude or behaviour of the driver or fellow passengers
- A quarter said their local train station was not accessible
- Nearly 60% had experienced difficulties in booking a wheelchair-accessible taxi
Changing Places toilets
The Department for Transport’s strategy also includes a commitment to provide £2 million for the purpose of getting more Changing Places toilets installed at motorway service stations. This is in response to a large number of consultation submissions talking about the challenges they experience due to a lack of Changing Places toilets at transport hubs. Across the UK there are just 18 registered Changing Places toilets across a network of over 100 service stations. This money from the Department for Transport would mean that people with severe disabilities, including thousands of people with muscle wasting conditions, would be able to travel easily and comfortably on the road network, safe in the knowledge that they can access toilets that meet their needs.
Nic Bungay, Director of Campaigns, Care and Information at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
Muscular Dystrophy UK welcomes the Department for Transport’s plans to make public transport more accessible for everyone and is encouraged to see investment in this area. Our campaigners have worked hard over the years to push for improvements and, while we know there is still a long way to go until people with disabilities have full accessibility, this announcement shows we are heading in the right direction.
As the co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium, we are also pleased that funding has been committed to installing these fully accessible facilities at motorway service stations across the country, and we look forward to working with DfT as these are put in place.
Transport Accessibility Minister Nusrat Ghani said:
Transport is at the heart of how we live our lives. It helps us get to work, stay in touch with friends and family, and access vital services like healthcare and education.
But for our ageing population and the fifth of people who are disabled, access to transport can be far from straightforward.
This Inclusive Transport Strategy is the first step in achieving a genuinely inclusive transport network, which meets the needs of all people, regardless of whether they are disabled or not.