Train

The House of Commons Transport Committee has said that the failure of several rail operators to meet previous targets to make trains fully accessible is unacceptable, and it has asked the Department for Transport to set out the sanctions that will apply if companies fail to meet deadlines.

In its sixth Trains Fit For The Future? report, the committee says Department for Transport’s extension of deadlines to May 31 does not treat the matter with the seriousness that it deserves.

“The industry has had 11 years to prepare for legislation making it unlawful for a passenger rail train to be in service unless it is accessible,” said Transport Committee Chair Huw Merriman.

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“There are at least four train operators that are still not complying with legal accessibility requirements. It is not acceptable for the Department for Transport to continue to sign dispensations. Public transport must be accessible to all. The government and industry must make this happen.”

The four train operators with dispensations are Transport for Wales, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia and Northern.

In more positive news, reviews undertaken by the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) and disability charity the Shaw Trust has confirmed that train and station operators are improving the provision of information for disabled travellers on its websites.

ORR’s requirements include providing information on assisted travel, and working towards achieving Website Content Accessibility Guidelines standards which aim to ensure that sites are accessible to assistive technologies such as screen readers, that policy and guidance documents are fully accessible, and that there is sufficient colour contrast.

Content about accessible travel has been made easier to find, along with information on temporary reductions in accessibility and clearer information on what redress may be owed to passengers that did not get the assistance they booked.

“Our review identified a number of areas for improvement, and we’re pleased that operators are responding promptly to our findings,” said Stephanie Tobyn, ORR’s Deputy Director of Consumers.

“This work to improve website accessibility sits alongside the ongoing training of front-line staff to better understand the needs of disabled passengers.

“These are both parts of our Accessible Travel Policy requirements which look to make improvements across all parts of a disabled passenger’s journey.”

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https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Greater-Anglia-Trains-e1608129192977.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Greater-Anglia-Trains-e1608129192977.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Liane McIvorNewsroomReports & ResearchSector NewsThird Sectoraccessible,disabled passengers,House of Commons Transport Committee,trainsThe House of Commons Transport Committee has said that the failure of several rail operators to meet previous targets to make trains fully accessible is unacceptable, and it has asked the Department for Transport to set out the sanctions that will apply if companies fail to meet deadlines. In its...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals