Disabled rail passengers across the UK are set to benefit from a raft of accessibility improvements with the opening of a £20 million government fund today (8 July 2019).
It marks a year since the launch of the Inclusive Transport Strategy, the government’s flagship accessibility programme.
Key commitments delivered in the last 12 months include the introduction of the first ever impartial independent Rail Ombudsman, to make sure passengers get a fair deal when train companies fall short, and the launch of a £2 million fund to bring Changing Places accessible toilets to more motorway service areas.
And last month, guidance was issued to local authorities in England for extending the Blue Badge scheme – the biggest change in 50 years – making it easier for people with non-visible disabilities to travel.
Nusrat Ghani, Accessibility Minister, said:
While many take for granted the ability to travel easily from A to B, access for the fifth of people who identify as disabled can be far from straightforward.
We want disabled people to travel easily, confidently and without extra cost, which is why it is fantastic to be opening this fund today.
I look forward to seeing what ideas the industry has for accessibility improvements as we work towards a more inclusive rail network.
The £20 million fund will be open for applications from stations in need of accessibility improvements, leading to small-scale enhancements such as tactile paving, handrails and Harrington Humps, which increase platform heights. Taken together, these improvements will open up journeys for disabled passengers, allowing them to travel with confidence.