UK – Rail passengers with disabilities across the UK are set to benefit from a raft of accessibility improvements with the opening of a £20 million government fund today (8 July 2019).
It marks a year since the launch of the Inclusive Transport Strategy, the government’s flagship accessibility program.
Key commitments delivered in the last 12 months include the introduction of the first ever impartial independent Rail Ombudsman, to make sure passengers get a fair deal when train companies fall short, and the launch of a £2 million fund to bring Changing Places accessible toilets to more motorway service areas.
And last month, guidance was issued to local authorities in England for extending the Blue Badge scheme – the biggest change in 50 years – making it easier for people with non-visible disabilities to travel.
“While many take for granted the ability to travel easily from A to B, access for the fifth of people who identify as disabled can be far from straightforward” said Nusrat Ghani, Accessibility Minister
“We want disabled people to travel easily, confidently and without extra cost, which is why it is fantastic to be opening this fund today”.
The £20 million fund will be open for applications from stations in need of accessibility improvements, leading to small-scale enhancements such as tactile paving, handrails and Harrington Humps, which increase platform heights. Taken together, these improvements will open up journeys for passengers with disabilities, allowing them to travel with confidence.