Accessibility campaign for public transport launched by UK government
The ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ campaign will work to raise awareness for passengers with disabilities and encourage better accessibility on public transport.
Grant Shapps, the UK’s Transport Secretary, has begun his accessibility efforts by accelerating the progress of public transport across the country becoming more accessible and, subsequently, making the UK a world leader for accessible travel. As a result, the government has launched a new campaign with the aim of raising awareness and improving the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport.
The ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ campaign from the Department for Transport (DfT) highlights how all passengers are able to help make public transport inclusive by becoming more aware and being more considerate. The campaign is being supported by over 100 partners, including FirstGroup, WHSmith Travel and the Alzheimer’s Society.
According to the DfT, one in four disabled people say that the attitudes of other passengers prevent them from using public transport. ‘It’s everyone’s journey’ will work to encourage public transport users to reflect on how common, and often unconscious, behaviours can impact others and what can be done to create a more considerate environment for all passengers.
Grant said: “I want our transport system to be the best in the world for disabled people, but we still have a long way to go. Our ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ campaign highlights that we can all play a part in making transport more accessible for disabled people. Because I believe we should all be making a determined effort to make public transport accessible to everyone, and I am committed to accelerating the pace of change. We are launching a new scheme to recognise those transport operators which are getting it right and will work quickly to implement recommendations from the upcoming Keith Williams Review to improve rail accessibility.”
The government is set to announce 124 stations across the country that are to benefit from an investment of £20 million, which is dedicated to accessibility improvements. The changes are to be funded through the Access for All programme and will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.
Research undertaken by the DfT found that behaviours that make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for a fellow passenger who might need a seat or be in distress. The campaign will raise awareness of these kinds of behaviours and the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments.
Combating barriers to public transport is also one of the key parts of the government’s Loneliness Strategy, which includes the funding of a Kent coffee caravan and the pilot to expand the services provided by mobility centres in England.
John Birtwistle, Head of Policy at FirstGroup, said: “FirstGroup is particularly proud to be a partner in the launch of ‘it’s everyone’s journey’. For many years we have sought to improve our services to reflect the needs of travellers with disabilities and to overcome barriers to use of public transport. We will continue to encourage every one of our customers to be considerate to both their fellow travellers, and to our drivers who do a great job under difficult conditions, and we welcome this wide reaching national campaign.”