Friday, 1 June 2012

Right to Ride - 19th June

Together with Disabled People Against the Cuts, Transport for All will be holding a day of action for accessible transport on 19th June. The focus is to make that point that if the Government are serious about enabling disabled people into work, they must ensure transport is accessible.

Activists are asked to meet at the House of Commons at 2pm, and then invite their MP to travel with them by bus to the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the umbrella body for all bus companies in Covent Garden area (about a 15 minute bus journey).

Getting the able-bodied people to see the transport system a little from the perspective of those with impairments is a crucial part of bringing about change. Last year I got the Guardian to make the journey to the paralympics from Lambeth along with several disabled people. Jenny Jones, during the mayoral campaign, also offered to spend time to wheelchair users, using the transport system.

The aim of the June initiative is to get as many wheelchair users, visually impaired, deaf and other disabled people to all need to use the same buses at the same time, to really highlight the barriers that are faced.

These problems are also getting worse in many respects, rather than better. The Government wants to cut expenditure on DLA (Disability Living Allowance) by 20%. DWP’s own estimates are that 500,000 people will lose their DLA from 2013. Many people use their DLA for taxis, to qualify for transport benefits like Taxicard, Blue Badge and Freedom Pass, or to lease a Motability car. If they lose access to these, they will be left dependent on a bus and train system which is difficult or impossible to use for many older and disabled people.

Transport for all are asking the Government to ensure that transport procuremnet processes are changed to ensure that no train or bus company will win a tender to run a route or station, unless they show they are meeting minimum standards of accessibility. Poor records on accessibility-related customer complaints must have real consequences for transport providers.

More information at Transport for All.

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