British rail stations on track for £300 million funding boost to improve disabled access
In a great move for accessibility and inclusivity, disabled rail passengers in Britain will soon benefit from better access at train stations thanks to a £300 million government investment.
Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani has announced that over the next five years journeys will be opened up across the country as improvements (including footbridges and lifts) make it easier for disabled people to travel on the UK’s rail networks.
Ms Ghani said; “Transport is vital for connecting people with work, friends and family, but also to enable them to enjoy visiting some of the wonderful cultural, historical and natural sites across the UK. We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently, which is why I am delighted to announce this roll-out of upgrades across the rail network. Over the next five years these newly accessible stations will open up routes across the country, helping us move closer to a transport sector that is truly accessible.”
The Government announced a total of 73 train stations will benefit from a share of the £300 million Access for All funding in the latest move towards a fully inclusive transport network which will make it easier for disabled people to use more of the rail network. These improvements will form part of the Department for Transport’s Inclusive Transport Strategy which was published in 2018.
Other stations will also see smaller improvements such as the introduction of tactile paving on platform edges or adjustable ticket counters. These upgrades will help allow disabled passengers to travel more easily and with more confidence.
The Access for All programme was launched in 2006 and has so far delivered more than 200 accessible routes into selected stations. In addition, 1,500 stations have received smaller improvements such as accessible toilets, platform humps to reduce stepping distances and upgrades to help those with visual or hearing impairments.
Keith Richards, Chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, said; “The Access for All programme has already delivered significant improvements in access to rail travel for disabled people over the past 13 years. It’s crucial to continually build on that. The announcement is very welcome and must go hand-in-hand with clear and practical information to ensure that disabled people are aware of what improvements have been made, and that more travel options are now possible as a result.”
This announcement is fantastic news and is a very important step closer to creating a rail network in the UK that is more accessible for disabled people and wheelchair users. The Inclusive Transport Strategy in 2006 set an ambitious but exciting target for the transport system to offer equal access by 2030 and to make travel easier for disabled people. Recently we have seen many stories from wheelchair users who have experienced difficulty in accessibility and using public transport so hopefully this funding will soon bring an end to these issues. We look forward to seeing the upgrades at these stations across the UK soon.