Government unveils £300m plan to improve transport for disabled passengers

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Step-free access to railway stations and accessible toilets at motorway services are among measures announced by the Government aimed at improving transport for disabled people.

Up to £300 million will be made available as part of the Inclusive Transport Strategy, the Department for Transport said.

Setting out the strategy, transport accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani admitted access to transport for older people and those with a disability can be “far from straightforward”.

Last week disabled comedian Tanyalee Davis made headlines when she told how she had been forced to move her mobility scooter from a disabled space on a train, just days before she was stranded on another train when a pre-arranged ramp was not brought.

In both instances the rail operators apologised but the Canadian-born comic said it had been “another day, another trial” for a disabled passenger.

Ms Ghani described the new strategy as the “the first step in achieving a genuinely inclusive transport network”.

The Government aims to make the transport network fully accessible by 2030.

Measures include investment in rail accessibility infrastructure, league tables highlighting operators delivering well for disabled people, and funding for accessible toilets at motorway service stations.

Ms Ghani said: “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.”

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, welcomed the announcement but said there are many improvements to be made.

He said: “There is a lot of work to do to bring our transport system up to scratch.

“Disabled people face unnecessary difficulties using all parts of the transport network every day.”

The transport plan comes ahead of the Government’s Aviation Strategy, which it said could include changes to aircraft design and improved on-board facilities to improve the flying experience for disabled people.

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