Two thirds of disabled people responding to a recent survey said they would be more likely to use trains more frequently if they could turn up and go, rather than booking assistance ahead of their journey.
The survey of 799 disabled people was carried out by disability charity Papworth Trust. Two thirds said that having to book assistance 24 hours in advance was a barrier. The ‘turn up and go’ service is currently only offered on London Overground and as a trial in some London mainline stations, but could easily be rolled out to all 404 fully accessible stations in England to increase passenger numbers.
The Trust has used its findings to produce a report called ‘Improving rail travel for disabled passengers in the UK’. Other recommendations include:
- Making access improvements at only 67 stations would mean that three quarters of all entries and exits could be made through accessible stations.
- The Department for Transport should include accessibility requirements in franchise agreements, and monitor improvements through key performance indicators, so that accessibility is no longer a point of competition between operators but delivered at a minimum standard across the country.
The report highlights some success stories, including:
- Southern Trains have made huge improvements, going from 5% of accessible stations in 2002 to 39% in 2014.
- In England, the number of stations classed as accessible under the four criteria more than doubled between 2002 to 2014.
Papworth Trust CEO Vicky McDermott said,
“People’s experiences of rail travel vary hugely depending on accessibility and the attitudes and training of staff. We have identified some small and easy changes which could make a big difference. We hope to work closely with the Government and Association of Train Operating Companies to help both parties replicate the good examples across the network.”
The full report is available at: www.papworthtrust.org.uk/easiertrains
The charity will continue to gather feedback and stories from disabled travellers at www.papworthtrust.org.uk/easiertrains
About Papworth Trust
Charity Papworth Trust offers essential support and care to disabled and older people, their families and carers. Find out more at www.papworth.org.uk