The Scottish Equality and Human Rights Commission has sent a warning out to transport operators over problems with disabled access.
The organisation says the new project will support individuals who have experienced discrimination while using, or attempting to use, public transport.
The scheme will use all available routes to assist in resolving complaints, including offering advice and help with correspondence, or providing funding for legal support.
David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Transport operators have clear responsibilities in law to help disabled people travel freely, but often they are failing to meet them. Disabled and older people’s right to take public transport is one that we will vigorously defend.”
He added: “This funding will offer legal support to resolve complaints in the first instance but, failing that, we will not be afraid to support a case to ensure that everyone is able to enforce their legal rights. Disabled people and older passengers must be able enjoy public transport just like everybody else.”
The EHRC says it will consider complaints involving a range of disabilities, including invisible impairments such as mental health conditions.
Applications are welcomed from lawyers or advisers who need legal support to address complaints of discrimination in transport, as well as older or disabled individuals who have been unable to get legal support thus far.
The project is part of wider activity to encourage improvements to the transport industry’s policies and practice so that the needs of disabled and older people are key considerations in the current and future design of public transport.
It also aims to reduce gaps in legal protection for those affected.
The project is intended to help gather information about disability discrimination cases, evidence of which may inform our enforcement work in the future.