Transport system needs reform for disabled passengers – report

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Disabled people face continuing barriers to using public transport in the UK, according to a charity.

Overall 40% of disabled people often face issues or difficulties when using train stations, rising to 52% of those aged 18 to 34, a survey for disability equality charity Scope found.

A quarter (25%) of disabled people say negative attitudes from other passengers prevent them from using public transport.

Scope is urging transport providers to act to ensure disabled people can travel whenever they want, free from negative attitudes from staff and other passengers.

In its report Independent, Confident, Connected, the charity highlights transport as a “microcosm for the difficulties disabled people face across society” and “part of the reason many disabled feel undervalued and disconnected from society”.

It said it had heard stories “too often” of disabled people treated as “second class citizens” across the transport system.

It gave examples including the Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike saying she was forced to wet herself on a train with no disabled toilet, the BBC journalist Frank Gardner, who is a wheelchair user, left stranded on a plane twice in six months and comedian Tanya Lee Davis humiliated by staff on a train for using an accessible space for her mobility scooter.

The report concludes that public transport systems need to be reformed to ensure that disabled passengers are treated fairly and equally.

James Taylor, head of policy and public affairs at Scope, said: “Disabled people face unnecessary difficulties using all parts of the transport network every day.

“From airports to buses, we’ve heard too many horror stories of disabled people let down by poor infrastructure, bad service, or being treated as an afterthought. This urgently needs to change.

“Progress towards fair and inclusive transport has been slow, and disabled people want to see change happening a lot faster.

“While it’s good to see operators and government taking this seriously, there is still much more that needs to be done. All disabled people want is the same level of service as any other passenger.”

Opinium surveyed 2,000 UK adults with long-term impairments or conditions between May 18-30.

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