|Journeys by sea for thousands of disabled passengers are to be improved thanks to the Government issuing new guidance on improving accessibility to operators.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani announced the publication of the Passenger Rights toolkit during a visit to Liverpool today (Wednesday, January 22) where she met key stakeholders including Mersey Maritime, Wirral Waters and Port of Liverpool.
The toolkit provides operators in England and Wales with a high-level guide on what they must do to comply with passenger rights regulations, as well as recommendations on how maritime transport can be made more accessible.
It will apply to services such as ferries operating from Liverpool and makes recommendations on how maritime transport can be made more accessible to make journeys better for disabled passengers and staff.
The toolkit covers the whole journey experience, from accessing information at the booking stage through to arriving at the final destination. It highlights the challenges disabled people can face in travelling by sea, whether their disabilities are visible or hidden.
Maritime transport already benefits from comprehensive passenger rights regulation and this is enforced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The toolkit provides guidance to support the regulations and will help industry to comply with them.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) conduct inspections on operators and ports to ensure compliance with passenger rights regulations and they can be prosecuted in the courts and fined if they don’t comply.
At the end of 2018, the MCA carried out its first survey of disabled passengers’ experience when travelling by sea and the results were used to inform the recommendations made in this toolkit.
The department worked closely with the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) and industry representatives including the UK Chamber of Shipping and British Ports Association in its development.
The development of the toolkit was a commitment in the Inclusive Transport Strategy, which was published in July 2018. It sets out the Government’s ambition for disabled people to have the same access to transport.
It’s everyone’s journey
It’s everyone’s journey is a communications campaign developed by the Department for Transport in association with disability, transport and charity partners. The campaign aims to improve the public transport experience for disabled people by creating a more considerate and supportive travel environment.
Driving Mobility is the National Voice for assisted driving and independence
Driving Mobility accredits a network of 20 driving assessment centres covering the whole of the UK. Many with outreach facilities, these centres include independent charities and NHS centres which offer professional information and assessment so disabled and elderly people can gain or retain independence.