Johnson won’t scrap HS2, but his review could make a big offer to the North | Conservative Home


This week’s newspapers carried the intriguing suggestion that Boris Johnson might re-order the construction of High Speed Two so that the railway’s northern sections are constructed first.

The new review of HS2 ordered by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is theoretically empowered to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with it at all.

Yet whilst the idea of scrapping it altogether will strongly appeal to many activists and MPs, there doesn’t appear to be any real expectation that this will happen. It would certainly be an unusual start for a Prime Minister with a track record of enthusiasm for high-profile infrastructure projects, and key political supporters of the project such as Andy Street are on the commission.

One might perhaps expect Dominic Cummings, who has been quoted as calling HS2 a “disaster zone”, to perhaps drive a move against it. But as he attempts to overhaul the Government and prepare the country for a no-deal exit from the European Union in the autumn, it’s unlikely he’ll have the bandwidth to imprint himself as totally on the Prime Minister’s agenda as some myth-makers might suggest.

 

Source: Johnson won’t scrap HS2, but his review could make a big offer to the North | Conservative Home

Government promises £300 million for fully inclusive transport network | DisabledGo News and Blog


The government has pledged £300 million to make the UK’s transport network fully accessible by 2030.  The Department for Transport’s recently published Inclusive Transport Strategy outlines new funding for accessible infrastructure in railways as well as to improve Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations, and announces plans to produce league tables highlighting the operators that provide the best service for disabled people.

DisabledGo welcome this new development. It’s our mission to maximise independence and choice for disabled people in accessing their local area and the places we all want to visit and accessing public transport with confidence is a vital part of making that happen.

We publish accessibility guides to over 500 train stations in the UK and Ireland, which tell you all about the accessibility of platforms, toilets, parking, restaurants, shops and cafes within the stations and lots more.

Click here to view train stations

 

Source: Government promises £300 million for fully inclusive transport network | DisabledGo News and Blog

Minister lauds £600,000 for rail access… after her department confirms £47 million in cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog


A transport minister has announced £600,000 funding for seven digital projects to help disabled passengers access rail travel, days after her department confirmed another minister had rubber-stamped tens of millions of pounds in cuts to a separate rail access scheme.

Nusrat Ghani, the transport accessibility minister, said this week that the seven “innovative, high-tech schemes” to improve access to rail travel for disabled passengers would share the £600,000 funding.

The successful schemes include a mobile phone app to help station staff prioritise requests for support from disabled passengers; a website to help disabled passengers navigate transport interchanges; a study of how well frontline rail staff understand invisible impairments; and an app that aims to make rail travel easier for users of British Sign Language.

The seven schemes succeeded in a competition run by the Rail Safety and Standards Board.

Ghani said: “I am determined to make sure that our railways are accessible to everyone, and that we remove any barriers faced by people with a disability.”

But her announcement came only days after her own department finally confirmed to Disability News Service that it had rubber-stamped cuts of tens of millions of pounds to its Access for All rail station access improvement programme.

Two years ago, the chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, published a report on “replanning” his organisation’s investment programme for 2014-19 across England and Wales.

He recommended that funding for the Access for All station improvement programme should be cut by nearly £50 million, from £102 million to £55 million (in addition to another £32 million carried over from uncompleted work in 2009-14).

The rest of the funding was to be carried over to 2019-24, but with no guarantee that it would not be used to disguise lower spending on access improvements in future years.

 

Source: Minister lauds £600,000 for rail access… after her department confirms £47 million in cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog

Government set to ignore key air travel discrimination concerns | DisabledGo News and Blog


The government appears to be ignoring pleas to clamp down on significant areas of discrimination against disabled air passengers.

The concerns arose after the Department for Transport (DfT) issued a progress report on its new aviation strategy.

It included suggestions that it could “make flying more accessible for disabled passengers”, including improving assistance on planes and at airports, and “doing more to raise awareness of the assistance already provided at airports”.

The document says DfT is also working with the industry to offer better on-board facilities for disabled passengers, such as “priority wheelchair storage for quick access on arrival”.

Ministers are also examining how manufacturers could improve the design of aircraft to make them more accessible, for example by removing seats to allow passengers to travel in their own wheelchairs and ensuring that all aircraft install an accessible toilet and have an on-board wheelchair that can be used by passengers.

Another option being considered is a review of airport and airline performance standards, including looking at how long they take to provide disabled passengers with assistance boarding and leaving aircraft, and how these standards could be enforced.

This follows widespread media coverage of concerns raised by disabled passengers such as the BBC’s security correspondent, Frank Gardner, who was kept waiting on a plane for nearly two hours last month when he was told staff had lost his wheelchair.

He said on social media at the time that he was “utterly sick” of staff at Heathrow Airport repeatedly losing his wheelchair when he returned from foreign trips.

 

Source: Government set to ignore key air travel discrimination concerns | DisabledGo News and Blog

Bus access to be improved for wheelchair users, ministers say | DisabledGo News and Blog


Ministers have said they aim to improve bus access for wheelchair users, following a Supreme Court ruling.

Clearer signs saying wheelchair users have priority, and powers for drivers to remove people who refuse to move from a wheelchair space are among the measures considered.

It may also involve an awareness campaign for “bus-friendly” – easily folding – pushchairs.

The review followed wheelchair user Doug Paulley’s court case.

Mr Paulley, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, took legal action after he was left at a stop because a woman with a sleeping baby in a pushchair refused to move out of the designated area when asked by the driver of a FirstGroup bus to Leeds in February 2012. She said the buggy would not fold.

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Passengers with disabilities must have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society, and it is essential that the services they rely on are accessible and work for them.

“Where people live, shop, go out or park their car should not be determined by their disability.

“Accessible transport networks are vital if we are to support those with disabilities to live independent lives and fulfil their potential.”

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled it was not enough for drivers to “simply request” a non-wheelchair user vacate the space without taking any further steps, and they must consider whether it was reasonable to “pressurise” reluctant passengers to move.

 

Source: Bus access to be improved for wheelchair users, ministers say | DisabledGo News and Blog

Bus drivers to get powers to move pram users from wheelchair spaces : i


Bus drivers will be given the power to remove passengers who refuse to vacate wheelchair spaces to allow people with a disability to get on, under Government proposals. Legislation should be amended to enable bus drivers to remove passengers who “unreasonably refuse to remove when requested from the wheelchair space”, ministers wrote in a statement to Parliament. Improved signage should also be introduced to “better reflect the behaviours expected from drivers and passengers with respect to use of the wheelchair space”, they suggested. “Our view is that drivers need to play an active role in ensuring that the wheelchair space is made available for passengers in wheelchairs, which includes requiring other passengers to move where necessary, but that drivers also need more powers than they have currently to enable them to do this effectively,” the task and finish group on the use of wheelchair spaces on buses said.

Source: Bus drivers to get powers to move pram users from wheelchair spaces : i

Disabled taxi price premium condemned by charity | DisabledGo News and Blog


Confusion over new rules for disabled taxi passenger fares has led to “discriminatory” price differences, a charity claims.

A test in Nottingham saw a wheelchair user quoted up to five times more than an able-bodied caller.

Muscular Dystrophy UK said the practice was unacceptable.

For an existing ban on charging more to come into force councils must compile a formal list of accessible taxis but many have not done this.

Nirav Shah, who was born with muscular dystrophy, rang four companies in Nottingham and was quoted higher prices by every one.

In one case, a journey from his home to the local hospital, a distance of 2.5 miles (4km), an able-bodied caller was quoted £3-4 while Mr Shah was quoted £15.

Mr Shah said he was “disheartened and disappointed”.

 

Source: Disabled taxi price premium condemned by charity | DisabledGo News and Blog

DPOs call on transport secretary to restore Access for All funding | DisabledGo News and Blog


Disabled campaigners and their allies have called on the transport secretary to restore “vital” government funding for projects to improve access to rail stations across England, Wales and Scotland. In a letter signed by more than 50 organisations, Transport for All (TfA) – which campaigns for an accessible transport system – calls on Chris Grayling to restore tens of millions of pounds of funding for the Access for All scheme that has been deferred by the government. The letter says that deferring half of all planned Access for All projects means that the “already slow progress on rail access has all but ground to a halt”. The decision by the chair of Network Rail – later rubber-stamped by Grayling – to cut Access for All funding for 2014-19 from £102 million to £55 million, with the rest carried over to 2019-24, was first revealed by Disability News Service last year. The letter has been sent as Grayling is due today (Thursday) to announce future levels of Network Rail funding, which

Source: DPOs call on transport secretary to restore Access for All funding | DisabledGo News and Blog

Councils ‘should be shamed into action’ on taxi access laws | DisabledGo News and Blog


A disability activist has called on disabled people to shame their local councils into action, after his research showed more than a quarter had no plans to take one simple step that would protect wheelchair-users who use taxis from discrimination. On 6 April, the government finally brought into force legislation that imposes fines of up to £1,000 on drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles who refuse to accept wheelchair-users, try to charge them extra, or fail to provide them with appropriate assistance. But the new laws only apply in those areas of England, Scotland and Wales where the local authority has drawn up a list – under section 167 of the Equality Act – of all the wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles in their area. The government has been encouraging councils to start drawing up such lists for the last seven years. But three months of research* by disabled campaigner Doug Paulley – including freedom of information requests sent to all 366 licensing

Source: Councils ‘should be shamed into action’ on taxi access laws | DisabledGo News and Blog

Campaign hopes to force improvements to ‘disgraceful’ access to rail travel | DisabledGo News and Blog


A new user-led campaign is calling on the government to address the “disgraceful” and “unacceptable” treatment experienced by disabled rail passengers. Transport for All (TfA) has issued a series of seven demands to the government and rail industry as part of its Rail Access Now campaign, and has described the current situation as a source of “national shame”. Next month, on 5 April, TfA is planning a protest about access to services on the much-criticised Southern Rail network. The campaign has been backed by Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike and commuter Dave McQuirk, who both spoke this week of the “shocking” treatment they have received when using the rail system as wheelchair-users. Among TfA’s demands is for the government to reverse the “shameful” decision to defer until at least 2019 nearly half of the planned spending on its Access for All programme, which provides funding to improve access at rail stations. The funding delays were first revealed by Disability News Service last

Source: Campaign hopes to force improvements to ‘disgraceful’ access to rail travel | DisabledGo News and Blog