Need for improved transport access for disabled

20th October 2017

I have often written of the need to improve rail, road and air transport in the South West. However, one aspect of our transport strategy is often overlooked and that is the provision of accessible transport for disabled people.

It is imperative that those with physical and hidden disabilities have the same access to transport and opportunities to travel as everyone else.

Improving access for disabled people is a key priority for the Government and one on which I have repeatedly pushed the Department for Transport and Devon County Council. That is why I am pleased that it is at the forefront of the Department for Transport’s draft Accessibility Action Plan.

The recently published draft Accessibility Action Plan is the next step in the Government’s commitment to removing barriers for millions of disabled people and enabling them to travel independently and confidently.

In its draft plans, the Department for Transport has proposed that improving accessible facilities on the railways, ensuring better use of Blue Badges and trials of autonomous vehicles should be among measures to improve transport for people with disabilities.

The Department is now consulting on the Plan to seek your views and ideas on how to best improve accessibility on roads, rail, water and in the air.

This will instigate a much-needed dialogue between the Government and disabled people, carers, transport providers and local authorities and will ensure that service providers are responsive to new ways to improve travel. Public transport services are vital to people in rural towns and villages in West Devon and Torridge, but even more so for the disabled who rely on the services to help prevent social isolation.

I encourage everyone with an interest in this subject to contribute to the consultation on the measures in the draft plan before it is finalised and published in 2018.

Interested groups should make their submissions before the deadline of 15th November and can access the consultation on http://bit.ly/2wrwN9u

If you do not have internet access please write to me at the House of Commons, London SW1A0AA to receive hard copies of the consultation materials.

All disabled people should have the same ability to use transport services to travel as other members of society and this Government is making efforts to address the gaps in our transport services, which serve as a barrier to them doing so.

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2017

Saturday 2nd December
Bideford, Torrington
 
Saturday 16th December
Holsworthy, Tavistock