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

Blanket scooter bans on trains must end, say conga-dancing campaigners | DisabledGo News and Blog


By Raya Al Jadir Disabled transport campaigners have called on three train companies to remove blanket bans that prevent all scooter-users from using their services. To mark the campaign, members of the user-led campaigning organisation Transport for All (TfA) took part on Tuesday in a musical conga through Victoria station in London. They presented a letter to a manager of Gatwick Express, which does not allow any scooters onto its older 442-type trains* – because of its single doors and narrower ramps – unless they can be folded up and taken on as hand-luggage. The action was led by scooter-user Gina Vettese, who is taking legal action against another rail company, Northern Rail, over its blanket ban, following an incident as she returned from a trip to visit her family in Morecambe last Christmas. Vettese faced few problems on the journey to Morecambe from Lancaster, but on the return trip she was told she would not be allowed on the train unless she folded her scooter and carried

Source: Blanket scooter bans on trains must end, say conga-dancing campaigners | DisabledGo News and Blog