5 May 2009 Undercover report reveals disabled pay more
Disabled commuters forced to pay more for an inconsistent and inaccessible public transport system across the UK, as revealed by a three month undercover investigation published today.
The investigative report End of the Line, being presented to Parliament today, includes over 200 mystery commuter journeys. The trips were undertaken by young disabled campaigners in order to assess the state of our nation's public transport system.
End of the Line is the first report as part of the Inclusion Now campaign being organised by the Trailblazers - the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's nationwide network of 16 to 30-year-olds who are fighting for the rights of young disabled people.
Having completed surveys every time the Trailblazers made a journey on public transport, as well as using blogs and focus groups, today's report exclusively reveals:
- wheelchair users are forced to pay more to use public transport than their non-disabled peers through a lack of choice in accesible transport
- half of trains lacked basic disabled facilities at stations and on board the trains
- on a third of bus journeys, the mystery commuter was unable to board the first bus which arrived at the bus stop
- two out of five of the young disabled people were forced to pay more to use a wheelchair accessible taxi, compared with their non-disabled peers
These results come three years after the Disability Discrimination Act came into force, suggesting that transport providers are still failing to fulfil their duties in providing an equal service to disabled commuters.
The young campaigners will today present their findings to MPs and Peers at the House of Commons, where they will call on the Government and local authorities, together with transport providers, to review their accessibility policies.
Trailblazer Ambassador, 19-year-old Jessica Berry, who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy, said:
"Most people find it easy to get around and be independent, but when you are disabled simple tasks like travelling spontaneously can be extremely difficult.
"It's incredible that transport providers think the level of service they currently provide for disabled commuters is good enough. The End of the Line report shows there is still a long way to go before the transport system in the UK really is accessible.
"I hope that by joining forces with other young disabled campaigners from across the UK we'll have a real impact and access to public transport can be improved."
Commenting on the Trailblazers' report, a spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
"The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomes the Trailblazers and their current campaign to promote access to public transport.
"Although the Disability Discrimination Act started to come into force in December 2006 many disabled people still not do experience equal access to transport, leisure facilities and education.
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who will today meet with campaigners in Parliament, said:
"Many people with muscle disease feel that our public transport system does not meet the needs of its passengers. I hope that the report's findings will help boost independence and improve the quality of life for all people living with muscle disease.
"It's fantastic that young people are being given the opportunity to see their ideas make a difference and have an impact in their local communities."
Find out more about the End of the Line report.
See the evidence from your region.