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Our response to the draft transport accessibility action plan consultation

14 November 2017

The Department for Transport sought feedback on a draft accessibility action plan which set out proposals to improve the travel experience for people with disabilities.

View the Draft transport accessibility action plan

View Disability Rights UK's response

The action plan covered a range of transport modes including aviation, rail, buses and taxis. It also considered ways to improve public space to make it more accessible for people with disabilities.

Disability Rights UK were pleased to see the launch of a significant consultation exercise by the Department for Transport on accessible transport and drew upon our members views to frame our own response

“It’s welcome that the consultation covers several modes of travel including public space. This offers the opportunity to discuss interchanging between modes of travel and getting to and from public transport. The inclusion of buses will hopefully allow the ambiguities of competing demands for space to be resolved” said Philip Connolly, Policy and Development Manager for Disability Rights UK.

Background

About the Action Plan

The draft Action Plan includes:

  • advocating for greater consistency in the way transport services and facilities are delivered
  • ensuring that accessibility features currently required by regulations are consistently monitored and compliance is enforced
  • reviewing and monitoring access to parking in line with the Government’s manifesto commitment to improve disabled access to parking
  • improving the amount, reliability and available information on passenger facilities, particularly accessible toilets, at stations and on trains
  • highlighting the need for better awareness training for transport staff of the requirements of people with visible and hidden disabilities or impairments, and promoting best practice disability training guidance
  • identifying and taking steps to address the challenges facing people with disabilities when seeking spontaneous travel – it is important that disabled people are able to travel as freely and easily as everyone else

The Consultation questions

Consultation Question 1

How well do you feel the national bus concession in England succeeds in supporting the local transport needs of disabled people, and how might it be improved? Please be as specific as possible in your response.

Consultation Question 2

As a passenger or an organisation representing disabled people, what is your experience of information and guidance setting out the rights of disabled persons or those with reduced mobility when travelling by air?

We have listed some questions below which you may find helpful in responding. However, the list is not exhaustive and you should not feel restricted to the themes below.

  • Is there enough information available regarding your rights as a disabled or less mobile passenger when travelling by air?
  • Is the existing information and guidance clear and understandable, or is it too technical? For example, could the wording be improved? If so, how?
  • Are there any particular areas where you feel there is too little information available? Is the existing information focused on certain areas while leaving gaps in others, or is there a balance?
  • Is the existing information easy to access/find? If not, what could be done to make the information easier to access?
  • In your opinion, which organisation (e.g. the Government, a consumer rights advocacy, a disability organisation, etc.) would be most appropriate to provide information and guidance in this area? Why?
Consultation Question 3

As an industry representative or a service provider in the aviation sector, what is your experience of guidance regarding your obligations when providing services to disabled persons or those with reduced mobility when travelling by air?

We have listed some questions below which you may find helpful in responding. However, the list is not exhaustive and you should not feel restricted to the themes below.

  • Based on the existing guidance, do you know what is expected of you when providing services to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility?
  • Is the guidance detailed enough? Is there enough information available?
  • Is the existing information easy to access/find? If not, what could be done to make the information easier to access? 
  • What could be added to the guidance to make it easier for you to provide services to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility?
  • Are there any specific areas that you feel are not adequately covered in the existing guidance? Are there any areas that you feel the existing guidance is placing too much emphasis on?
Consultation Question 4

As a passenger or an organisation representing disabled people, what are your experiences with maritime passenger services when travelling by sea, in particular are there any issues where you feel more could be done to improve accessibility for passengers with disabilities or with reduced mobility?

Consultation Question 5

When you use a train, what has been your experience of accessibility equipment, such as the passenger announcements (either audible or visual), accessible toilets or manual boarding ramps, or other accessibility features)?

For example, do you find this equipment reliable, and if not, how could train operators better ensure reliability or assist you?

Consultation Question 6

As a transport user, what has been your experience of using transport services? In particular, how would you assess the levels of understanding of transport providers and staff of the needs of disabled people (i.e. those with cognitive, sensory or physical impairments including dementia, autism or mental health conditions)?

We would welcome any experiences (positive or negative) that you wish to provide.

Consultation Question 7

What additional action could Government, regulators or transport bodies take to ensure that transport providers and staff have a better understanding and awareness of the access and information needs and requirements of passengers or transport users with less visible disabilities (i.e. those with sensory or cognitive impairments including dementia, autism or mental health conditions)?

Consultation Question 8

As a passenger or organisation representing disabled people, what is your experience of trying to travel spontaneously?

  • What steps could transport providers and operators take to promote or reduce restrictions to spontaneous travel?
  • What action could Government, regulators, transport operators or providers take to increase spontaneous travel?
Consultation Question 9

As a transport operator or provider, what is your experience of enabling spontaneous travel for disabled people?

  • What steps have you taken to enable spontaneous travel for disabled passengers?
  • What action could Government, regulators or other bodies take to help support you to provide spontaneous travel for disabled passengers?
Consultation Question 10

As a passenger or organisation representing disabled people, what is your experience of using Passenger Assist?

We would welcome ideas on what further developments could be made to the Passenger Assist system to make it more attractive to users with accessibility needs; particularly those who currently choose not to travel by train.

Consultation Question 11

When you purchase a ticket using a vending machine, what has been your experience of accessibility?

For example, do ticket machines provide clear information? Are you able to book the correct ticket?

Are there any particular issues that we need to consider when designing or delivering smart ticketing programmes?

Consultation Question 12

We would welcome views, particularly from disabled passengers, on the current systems for resolving transport disputes, and whether processes could be further improved.

Consultation Question 13

As a person with a hidden or less visible disability or impairment, or in an organisation representing people with hidden disabilities, we are keen to receive your views on the desirability and feasibility of introducing a national assistance card.

We have listed some questions below which you might find helpful in responding. However, the questions below are not exhaustive and you should not feel restricted by them:

  • Do you have a hidden disability or impairment? If yes, do you feel the need to communicate your needs to transport staff?
  • What has been your experience of communicating your needs to transport staff or fellow passengers?
  • Have you ever used a tool to communicate your assistance needs to transport staff? What did you use? What has your experience been?
  • Do you have any views on the merit or not of introducing a national, cross- modal assistance card?
Consultation Question 14

As a transport operator or provider, we are keen to receive your views on the desirability and feasibility of introducing a national assistance card.

We have listed some questions below which you might find helpful in responding. However, the questions below are not exhaustive and you should not feel restricted by them:

  • Do you currently offer an assistance card, badge, lanyard or other tool to enable passengers with hidden disabilities to alert your staff to assistance needs?
  • Do you have any views on the merit or not of introducing a national, cross-modal assistance card?
  • Are there any practical or other considerations needed for the introduction of a cross-modal national assistance card?
Consultation Question 15

How can the Department for Transport support Community Transport Operators further?