Wheelchair user unable to board a train

UK: The House of Commons Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into transport accessibility for disabled people and those with access needs.

This will examine the effectiveness and enforcement of legislation, and any gaps in it that need to be filled. The committee will also look at the forms of redress available to those who are excluded or mistreated.

‘After receiving evidence from groups representing disabled people, it became clear to my colleagues and I that there is a great deal of discontent among people with disabilities about the way transport services are run’, said Transport Committee Chair Iain Stewart MP on February 2.

‘Many simply feel locked out of various modes of transport, from trains to planes and taxis, which of course means exclusion from work, education, socialising and all sorts of experiences that many take for granted. Even reaching a train or a bus can be difficult if the streets are not designed inclusively.’

He said the inquiry ’will take a nuanced look at the system of legal obligations that govern how transport services should be run in a way that’s accessible for all, and at the means of enforcement and redress available to groups who feel sidelined.

‘We will also look for a solution to the absence of any simple-to-use means of redress for people who are mistreated or denied their rights. People shouldn’t have to threaten huge, well-resourced transport companies with court action — typically a burden on complainants’ time, money and mental health that can take years to conclude.’

Written evidence can be submitted by March 20, and the committee has also launched a survey of the experiences of people with access needs.