Grant Shapps Archives - Driving Mobility

Rail stations across Great Britain receive £20m funding boost for accessibility improvements

Disabled passengers across Great Britain are set to benefit from accessibility improvements at 124 stations thanks to a £20m government fund.

  • 124 stations across Great Britain to benefit from a share of £20m for accessibility improvements
  • Latest in a series of improvements by the Transport Secretary to accelerate the pace of change for a more accessible transport network
  • Follows launch of new campaign to improve journeys for disabled people when using public transport

Disabled passengers across Great Britain are set to benefit from accessibility improvements at 124 stations thanks to a £20m government fund.

The enhancements announced by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today (February 26) are funded through the Access for All programme and will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.

It comes as a new Government campaign launched this week to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives – but is not the reality for everyone.

“I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 124 train stations across the country more accessible – a key part of levelling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all.

“This is just the start of a much more ambitious agenda. My goal is to go much further in the years ahead to help ensure that our country’s transport system becomes one of the most accessible in the world.”

These improvements are being made through the Access for All programme which, since 2006, has already made more than 200 stations step free, as well as delivered smaller scale accessibility improvements at more than 1,500 others to improve passenger experience.

Today’s £20million is part of a £300million package announced last year which is already providing accessible, step free routes at 73 stations across Great Britain, making it easier for disabled people to travel on the UK’s rail network.

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:

“Everyone using our rail network deserves platforms and toilets they can use and this £20million investment to improve 124 railway stations across the country will make a huge difference to disabled people.

“This Government is committed to levelling up the playing field and later this year we’ll launch a national strategy which will ensure disabled people have equal access to all spheres of life.”

This follows the launch of the ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ advertising campaign to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive. The campaign is being supported by more than 100 partners, including First Group, WHSmith Travel and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Department for Transport research has shown that behaviours that make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for a fellow passenger who might need a seat or be in distress.

‘it’s everyone’s journey’ will raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments, and will also prompt members of the public to think and consider how their behaviour might impact others.

Alongside this, the Department has also launched its Inclusive Transport Leaders scheme, an accreditation scheme which will encourage, celebrate and promote best practice in inclusive transport.

Operators, such as bus and train companies, are encouraged to sign up to the Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme, where they will work towards one of three accreditation levels by demonstrating the steps they have taken to improve the travelling experiences of disabled passengers, older people, and those with reduced mobility.

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

Website: www.gov.uk/dft

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Access for All programme

Projects were selected following nominations from the rail industry and were based on a range of criteria including relevance to disabled passengers, value for money, project credibility, and fair geographical spread across the country.

The stations to benefit from the funding are:

Station Region
Bury St Edmunds East
Colchester North East
Needham Market East
Narborough East Midlands
Barking London
Chessington South London
Ealing Broadway London
Hackney Downs London
Kew Bridge London
Surbiton London
West Croydon London
Billingham North East
Accrington North West
Ainsdale North West
Aintree North West
Altrincham Interchange North West
Aughton Park North West
Bache North West
Bank Hall North West
Bebington North West
Belle Vue North West
Bidston North West
Birkdale North West
Birkenhead central North West
Birkenhead North North West
Birkenhead Park North West
Blundellsands & Crosby North West
Bolton North West
Bootle New Strand North West
Bramhall North West
Bredbury North West
Broad Green North West
Bromborough Rake North West
Bromley Cross North West
Brunswick North West
Chassen Road North West
Davenport North West
Ellesmere Port North West
Fairfield North West
Farnworth North West
Fazakerley North West
Formby North West
Hall Road North West
Hamilton Square North West
Heald Green North West
Heaton Chapel North West
Hightown North West
Hillside North West
Hooton North West
Hoylake North West
Humphrey Park North West
Hunts Cross North West
James Street North West
Kearsley North West
Kirkby North West
Kirkdale North West
Leasowe North West
Liverpool Central (Northern Line) North West
Liverpool South Parkway North West
Lostock North West
Maghull North West
Middlewood North West
Moorfields North West
Moorside North West
Moses Gate North West
New Brighton North West
Old Roan North West
Ormskirk North West
Orrell Park North West
Overpool North West
Prescot North West
Rice Lane North West
Rock Ferry North West
Romiley North West
Rose Hill North West
Ryder Brow North West
Sandhills North West
Seaforth and Litherland North West
Southport North West
Town Green North West
Trafford Park North West
Wallasey Grove Road North West
Wallasey Village North West
Walton North West
Waterloo North West
West Kirby North West
Westhoughton North West
Anderston Scotland
Deal South East
High Brooms South East
Totton South East
Wivelsfield South East
Dorchester South South West
Freshford South West
Lawrence Hill South West
Lostwithiel South West
Nailsea & Backwell South West
Parson Street South West
Patchway South West
Severn Beach South West
Stapleton Road South West
Yate South West
Grangetown Wales
Llantwit Major Wales
Neath Wales
Pontypool & New Inn Wales
Lichfield Trent Valley West Midlands
Wolverhampton West Midlands
Barnetby Yorkshire and the Humber
Darnall Yorkshire and the Humber
Darton Yorkshire and the Humber
Dodworth Yorkshire and the Humber
Elsecar Yorkshire and the Humber
Horton in Ribblesdale Yorkshire and the Humber
Hull Paragon Yorkshire and the Humber
Kiveton Bridge Yorkshire and the Humber
Kiveton Park Yorkshire and the Humber
Malton Yorkshire and the Humber
Penistone Yorkshire and the Humber
Pontefract Monkhill Yorkshire and the Humber
Silkstone Common Yorkshire and the Humber
Thirsk Yorkshire and the Humber
Thorne South Yorkshire and the Humber
Woodhouse Yorkshire and the Humber

 

It’s everyone’s journey

  • To download the campaign assets for it’s Everyone’s Journey, visit https://we.tl/t-BJ0v2xrs1E
  • If you’re interested in learning more about ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ or becoming a campaign partner, visit gov.uk/everyonesjourney, email everyonesjourney@dft.gov.uk or follow #ItsEveryonesJourney and @IEJGov.

Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme

 

The Department for Transport is launching today a new initiative which aims to improve disabled people’s access to the transport system.

The Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme invites operators from across the transport sector (bus, rail, aviation and maritime) to apply for official accreditation, recognising the inclusivity of their transport provision. It provides a framework for transport operators to make their services more accessible, and recognises and promotes good practice.

Photo by JJ Jordan on Unsplash

Transport Secretary accelerates progress on accessibility with campaign to improve disabled passengers’ journeys

Grant Shapps is accelerating progress to make the UK a world leader for accessible travel as a new Government campaign launches to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport.

  • Campaign launches to improve journeys for disabled people when using public transport
  • Operators urged to sign up to the Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme to encourage, celebrate and promote best practice
  • Latest in a series of improvements by the Transport Secretary to accelerate the pace of change for a more accessible transport network

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is today (February 25) accelerating progress to make the UK a world leader for accessible travel as a new Government campaign launches to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport.

The Department for Transport has launched the ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ advertising campaign to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive. The campaign is being supported by more than 100 partners, including First Group, WHSmith Travel and the Alzheimer’s Society.

As one in four disabled people say the attitudes of other passengers prevent them from using public transport, the campaign will encourage everyone to reflect on how common, and often unconscious, behaviours can impact others and what we can all do to create a more considerate environment for passengers.

 

The Government will also shortly be announcing 124 stations across Great Britain which will benefit from a share of a £20million government investment for accessibility improvements. The enhancements – funded through the Access for All programme – will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.

 Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“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 ‘it’s 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.

“We are launching a new scheme to recognise those transport operators which are getting it right and will work quickly to implement recommendations from the upcoming Keith Williams Review to improve rail accessibility.”

Department for Transport research has shown that behaviours that make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for a fellow passenger who might need a seat or be in distress.

‘it’s everyone’s journey’ will raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments, and will also prompt members of the public to think and consider how their behaviour might impact others.

Combatting barriers to public transport is also one of the key parts of the Government’s Loneliness Strategy which includes the funding of a Kent coffee caravan and the pilot to expand the services provided by mobility centres in England.

John Birtwistle, Head of Policy at FirstGroup, said:

“FirstGroup is particularly proud to be a partner in the launch of “it’s everyone’s journey”.  For many years we have sought to improve our services to reflect the needs of travellers with disabilities and to overcome barriers to use of public transport.

“We will continue to encourage every one of our customers to be considerate to both their fellow travellers, and to our drivers who do a great job under difficult conditions, and we welcome this wide reaching national campaign.”

Alongside this, the Department is launching its Inclusive Transport Leaders scheme, an accreditation scheme which will encourage, celebrate and promote best practice in inclusive transport.

Operators, such as bus and train companies, are encouraged to sign up to the Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme, to be recognised for the positive actions they are taking to improve disabled passengers’ experiences on public transport, and to encourage others to follow their lead.

They can work towards one of three accreditation levels ‘Committed’, ‘Operator’ or ‘Leader’ by meeting designated criteria and publicly declaring the steps they have taken to improve the travelling experiences of disabled passengers, older people, and those with reduced mobility.

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

Research from TRL, a specialist in the delivery of transport research and technology, is also being published today, carried out to inform revisions of the tactile paving and inclusive mobility guidance which the department intends updating later this year.

Thousands with hidden disabilities benefit from extended Blue Badge scheme

New figures show 12,299 people awarded Blue Badge under new criteria

blue badge scheme
  • New figures show 12,299 people awarded Blue Badge under new criteria
  • Since August 2019, people with non-visible conditions such as dementia, epilepsy or Parkinson’s are eligible
  • Changes to Blue Badge scheme continue the UK’s world-leading plans to make the transport network more accessible
Thousands of people with Parkinson’s, dementia, epilepsy and other “invisible” disabilities have gained access to the benefits from Blue Badges under new rules introduced last summer.

In the first three months, new figures show, 12,299 new badges – around 130 a day – were granted to people who cannot walk as part of a journey without considerable psychological distress or the risk of serious harm, as well as to people with a non-visible disability.

The new rules, introduced by the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, in August, widened the eligibility criteria to ensure that people with “invisible” disabilities are not disadvantaged. The badges help people access shops and services, by enabling them to park closer to their destinations.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“People with hidden conditions like these have to fight not just their disability, but the psychological worry that others may not recognise them as disabled.
“I’m proud that our reform is already changing thousands of people’s lives, allowing those in need to carry on their daily lives with more confidence and helping combat loneliness and isolation.”

Ahead of the change, the DfT issued new guidance to councils in England on Blue Badge parking permit eligibility, and launched in August a new online eligibility checker to make the scheme clearer for people before they apply.

While the new criteria gives clear and consistent guidelines on Blue Badge eligibility for the whole of England, not everyone with non-visible disabilities will qualify for a badge.

Local authorities decide if an applicant meets the eligibility criteria, as is currently the case.

The Blue Badge scheme had already meant that people with physical disabilities can park closer to their destination than other drivers, as they are less able to take public transport or walk longer distances.

Keith Richards, chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), said:

“DPTAC has worked hard to bring the issue of non-visible disabilities to the fore. Enabling those with non-visible disabilities to benefit from a Blue badge will bring a critical improvement in the lives of many disabled people and it is right that the criteria was changed.

“We have stressed the importance of enforcement of the scheme and we are pleased to see the number of prosecutions increasing.”

Abuse of the scheme on-street is something that local authorities have been cracking down on and the Department has given them the powers to seize badges on-street when they are being misused.

At the end of 2018, the Local Government Association estimated that the theft of Blue Badges had risen by 45 per cent in 12 months and was up six-fold since 2013.

Latest statistics from DfT show prosecutions for blue badge misuse in England have risen 17.9 per cent in 2018/19, with almost all of these being instances where someone used another person’s badge – typically family members or carers.

Samantha Tomlin, whose son Henry has autism and has a new Blue Badge, said:

“The key thing with the Blue Badge is that is has increased safety and reduced anxiety for the child and their carer.

“For a parent or carer of someone with ASD, some of the most challenging times are the most mundane for others. A child with sensory difficulties can be triggered by a car horn or lights – and even road awareness can also be an issue – so going to a new location can be very stressful.

“When my son was younger sometimes I didn’t go out because I just couldn’t face trying to find a safe place to park near the shop or doctors.

“Having the Blue Badge just makes you feel slightly less anxious about the situation and feel your child is safer.

“It will make a huge difference to parents going through the early years and those with older children and adults that suffer with all the challenges autism brings.”

Councils may need to review on street parking provision to increase the number of spaces, both in terms of the availability of disabled parking, and the overall number of parking spaces if disabled spaces take up other existing parking spaces.

To help councils with the expected increase in applications, the department has agreed with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to provide £1.7 million to local authorities in England in the first year of the programme.