30 January 2012 More disabled rail passengers but do they get a fair deal?
This morning, BBC Breakfast reported that there was a 'rise in the number of disabled people using rail services.' The record numbers have been attributed to the Disabled Person's Railcard which celebrated it's 30th anniversery last year.
Over 130,000 disabled people across the UK hold a railcard which reduces prices by one third. Although Trailblazers recognise this to be useful, there is still more to be done. Trailblazers continuously report to us that the Assisted Passenger Reservation Service (APRS) systems are uncertain, staff attitude is questionable and seating areas are used for luggage or are located next to toilets. Moreover, disabled passengers still pay 2/3 of their personal assistants' train tickets.
These challenges have been highlighted in Trailblazers' End of the Line report and we continuously campaign on improving rail services for disabled passengers. The APPG for Young Disabled people recently held a session on improving access to trains, quizzing Chief Exeutives and representatives from the train operators.
More recently, there have been some positive improvements for disabled rail users. including a new APRS system and the Network Rail Access for All website.
Trailblazers want to ensure that access remains a key priority when new tracks are laid, and contracts tendered. Trailblazers will continue to campaign to improve public transport, if you have any experiences you would like to share please get in touch.