£20 million funding boost announced for Great Britain station accessibility improvements
Disabled passengers across Great Britain are set to benefit from accessibility improvements at 124 stations thanks to a £20 million government fund announced by the UK’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.
The enhancements are funded through the Access for All programme and will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens to improve passenger experience.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives – but is not the reality for everyone. I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 124 train stations across the country more accessible – a key part of levelling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all. This is just the start of a much more ambitious agenda. My goal is to go much further in the years ahead to help ensure that our country’s transport system becomes one of the most accessible in the world.”
The improvements are being made through the Access for All programme which, since 2006, has already made more than 200 stations step-free, as well as delivered smaller scale accessibility improvements at more than 1,500 others to improve passenger experience.
Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, said: “Everyone using our rail network deserves platforms and toilets they can use and this £20 million investment to improve 124 railway stations across the country will make a huge difference to disabled people. This government is committed to levelling up the playing field and later this year we’ll launch a national strategy which will ensure disabled people have equal access to all spheres of life.”
This follows the launch of the government’s ‘it’s everyone’s journey‘ advertising campaign to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive.
Department for Transport (DfT) research has shown 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.
‘it’s everyone’s journey’ will raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments, and will also prompt members of the public to think and consider how their behaviour might impact others.
Rebecca Richardson, Greater Anglia’s Accessibility Manager, said, “We’re working hard to ensure that everyone can have an enjoyable journey with us. We’re fully committed to making our railway more accessible. We’ve set up a training programme, delivered by wheelchair-users, to show our staff how they can improve their service to customers with disabilities. We’re introducing all new trains, with improved access and facilities for disabled people. This campaign also reminds us all of the need to be compassionate and courteous, and we are very happy to support it.”
A full list of the stations set to benefit from a share of the £20 million funding for accessibility improvements is available on the DfT website.