Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Transport apartheid in London

There is a debate in Parliament today, initiated by Lisa Nandy MP, on accessible transport. (I did an event at the Labour party conference with Lisa Nandy a few weeks ago, and amongst other things we discussed disability).

It is scandalous that whilst we will be holding the Paralympics in London next year, so much of London's transport system is inaccessible - most notably the tube. As part of the GLA campaign, we will be highlighting this issue as much as we can in Lambeth and Southwark. In many respects there is a system of apartheid in place, where whole areas are only accessible to one part of London's population.

Transport for All, based in Brixton, would like the Government to:

- Reject proposals in the McNulty Review to cut staff at train stations, who provide essential assistance to disabled and older passengers. (Southwark will be particularly hard hit in this respect)

- Change the law to ensure that all buses and coaches are equipped with the audio-visual equipment that makes them accessible to blind and deaf people

- Increase funding for stepfree programme as way of kickstarting economy. At present, almost half of disabled people say their choice of job is restricted due to inaccessible transport and nearly a quarter have had to turn doen a job because of transport.

- Protect bus routes which are so essential to avoid isolation and maintain activity and independence, especially for older people.

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