Paralympian-backed government campaign to raise awareness of transport issues for disabled people

This week the Department for Transport announced ‘it’s everyone’s journey’, a new campaign raising awareness of issues faced by disabled people on public transport.

The inclusive transport campaign is being backed by paralympians Anne Wafula Strike and Ade Adepitan. It aims to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport, and encourage passengers to step out of the commuter bubble and consider others.

Anne Wafula Strike says: “My experiences of neglect on public transport are not isolated incidences.

“Everyday people with disabilities are struggling on public transport across the country and this campaign should help raise awareness of these difficulties and shift public behaviour.”

Attitudes

When discussing inclusivity, public transport in the UK has a long way to go. According to charity Scope, one in four disabled people say the attitudes of other passengers prevent them from using public transport.

Mencap has also found that 41 per cent of people with a learning disability say travelling on public transport is one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of their day once they leave the house.

The charity also found that 15 per cent of people with a learning disability have experienced someone being rude or nasty to them on public transport in the last month.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says: “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 ‘its 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.”

This campaign aims to help the issue, making passengers on public transport more aware of those around them and how their actions could affect fellow commuters.

Unconscious

While a bias clearly exists when discusseing inclusivity on public transport, research by the Department for Transport has found that behaviours that cause this are often unconscious.

The research found that the public don’t realise that nearly three quarters of disability are not visible.

The campaign will raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with hidden or non-visible impairments.

“We have a duty to support people with disabilities on public transport,” explains Anne. “Just lifting your head to nod or smile at someone is a small change that can make a massive difference to everyone travelling, not just the disabled or vulnerable.

“Remember, it’s everyone’s journey.”

Change

The ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ campaign is a great step towards changing attitudes on public transport. As part of the campaign Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will meet with Anne in London Bridge Station to discuss the challenges faced by disabled people.

Ade says: “Commuting is a stressful time all round and sometimes it’s easy to travel in your own bubble and ignore those around you.

“However, when you’re a disabled traveller, this makes travelling especially hard – and you may not even realise the impact of thoughtless behaviour.

“Familiarise yourself with the needs of others by taking a moment to look out for those around you when getting from A to B. A little bit of kindness and consideration goes a long way. It’s everyone’s journey after all.

Ade will also take over Network Rail’s tannoys at the station, and at other stations throughout the UK, to make announcements highlighting these challenges and encouraging commuters to be more considerate with other passengers.

Two 30 second adverts and seven short animated films for social media will showcase the various behaviours of passengers on public transport and how this impacts disabled people.

Investment

Along with the announcement of the new campaign, the government will also be announcing more than 100 stations across Great Britain which will benefit from a share of a £20million government investment.

This investment will focus on accessibility improvements for train stations in the UK.

The enhancements, which will be funded through the Access for All programme, will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.

These improvements form part of the wider Inclusive Transport Strategy and support the government’s ambition of achieving equal access for all on public transport.

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