A Government committee has expressed its concern that the Department for Transport’s (DFT) plan to improve disabled access across the UK’s transport infrastructure “falls short of certain points” and fails to address the committee’s recommendations.
The Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, has written a letter to Transport Minister Paul Maynard criticising the extent of the recently released draft Accessibility Action Plan, which is currently being assessed before a formal version is published.
Ms Miller’s letter says DfT should address recommendations the committee made in a report transport for disabled people.
While the Chair praised the plan on certain points she said that accessible toilets and Changing Places in particular should be considered for the transport network – something the draft plan did not address when it was released in August.
Ms Miller also warns that bus and coach stations were omitted from the draft plan and says access at these sites also needs to be considered.
But she said that the committee welcomes the draft plan as it sets out positive actions to improve the travel experience for people with disabilities.
“However, it is very disappointing that, on certain points, the findings of our report have not been addressed. We expected the Department to use this action plan to address the recommendations we made directly to it, but it has not done so.”
“Disabled people will not be pleased to hear that our recommendations, particularly on Changing Places toilets, shared spaces schemes, training and local authority guidance all appear to have been ignored. I have urged the Minister to explain how the Government plans to address our recommendations and concerns in its Accessibility Action Plan.”
The action plan outlines the Government’s accessible transport strategy and shows scooters are high on the agenda. It stated that the DfT will highlight and promote the work of mobility centres and will also support the Driving Mobility network.
Dft declared that it will work alongside mobility providers and the BHTA to promote scooter training and training facilities. It has also said it will identify and promote scooters which are “most appropriate for public transport”.
The draft action plan also outlined the government’s concern around a lack of knowledge on scooter controls and road rules among users as well as some larger scooters being unsuitable for certain transport routes.