Leonard Cheshire calls for accessibility law as it lambasts lack of accessible rail stations
Despite significant investment being made available to improve the accessibility of rail stations across the UK, research by national charity Leonard Cheshire has found that 38 percent of train stations across Great Britain still do not have full step-free access.
After reviewing 34 train operating companies, 29 of which are responsible for at least one train station, the charity says the government will significantly miss its 2030 target to make end-to-end journeys step-free at the current average rate of completion.
According to analysis, the charity concluded that at an improved rate of 19 stations a year being made step-free from October 2019, work across the whole rail network still would not be completed until 2070.
The findings come as substantial amounts have been invested in improving rail accessibility as part of the government’s Access for All funded projects.
In April 2019, the Department for Transport confirmed that 73 stations throughout the UK are to receive from a £300 million boost, with £20 million being made available in July 2019.
Leonard Cheshire’s research revealed that despite the opening of the funding most of the train operating companies have not made any changes over the past twelve months. Only six have increased the number of step-free stations they operate by over 5%, with just three delivering these improvements at 10% or more of their stations. Overall, the percentage of stations that are step-free has changed by under 5% in all but two regions.
As the public prepares for one of the busiest weekends of the year for travel, Leonard Cheshire’s research shows more than a third (38 percent) of rail stations across England, Scotland and Wales are still not step-free.
The current inaccessibility of rail stations means disabled people will be excluded from travelling by train from their local station for work, education or to see friends and loved ones, states the charity.
In response, Leonard Cheshire is calling for a new law that guarantees all rail journeys in Britain will be fully accessible by 2030.
Neil Heslop, Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire, said: “This is a timely reminder that our current rail network often excludes disabled people from making journeys others take for granted.
“As families look to enjoy the festive season together, accessibility issues will add unnecessary stress to disabled travellers who negotiate a sub-standard network every day. We call on Boris Johnson to prioritise the acceleration of Access for All, so disabled people can enjoy the life opportunities provided through modern, accessible rail travel.”
The disability charity will now campaign for legislation that will compel the government and rail operators to ensure all stations are fit for use by disabled people by 2030, declaring it wants an end to end journeys to be fully accessible from the purchase of a ticket through to station and on-board train information.https://thiis.co.uk/leonard-cheshire-calls-for-accessibility-law-as-it-lambasts-lack-of-accessible-rail-stations/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Accessible-rail.jpg?fit=900%2C611&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Accessible-rail.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Government & Local AuthoritiesNewsroomReports & ResearchThird SectorAccess for All,Accessibility,Department for Transport,disability charity,Leonard Cheshire,rail,rail network,railwayDespite significant investment being made available to improve the accessibility of rail stations across the UK, research by national charity Leonard Cheshire has found that 38 percent of train stations across Great Britain still do not have full step-free access. After reviewing 34 train operating companies, 29 of which are...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine