Government announces £2.5m package to improve transport accessibility for people with disabilities

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The Government today (29 March 2022) announced a £2.5 million package to help people with disabilities travel with more confidence on our transport network as it reopens after Coronavirus (COVID-19) .

The new funding will include £1.5million allocated to help the 13 mobility hubs across England roll out a ‘Hubs mobility service’. These vital services help people stay mobile after they have been advised to stop driving or if they cannot learn to drive due to their disability, by offering advice on alternatives such as electric wheelchairs , community transport and local services.

The hubs have been successfully tested in 7 of the centers over the past 2 years and have already helped over 4,000 people regain and maintain the confidence to travel. The real benefits of staying mobile have been highlighted in the Inclusive Transport Strategy, which links reduced mobility and access to transport with loneliness and social isolation.

Prior to the announcement, Accessibility Minister Wendy Morton visited the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation (QEF’s 40th anniversary, celebrating the opening of the UK’s first mobility center and their first mobility open day since the pandemic.

The minister was able to see and experience some of the assessments funded by the Ministry of Transport and carried out at mobility centres, particularly for people interested in using wheelchair accessible vehicles, adapted cars and electric wheelchairs.

Karen Deacon, QEF Mobility Service to discuss the importance of helping people improve their independent mobility and access to public transport, to enable people to live the life they choose.

Whether it’s for young children thanks to the fantastic Bugzi electric wheelchair, or for people with lifelong disabilities or who have had a life-changing medical event.

Independent mobility and public transport must be equally accessible to all, and it was great to see the Minister personally experience the challenges some face when learning to drive again in an adapted car and to listen to the daily commuting challenges people with disabilities face on public networks. transport.

DfT also announced it will provide £1million to ferries and vital seaports serving the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly to improve accessibility. The funding will improve access to services for passengers with disabilities.

The government has also confirmed that the 1,000th accessibility audit has been carried out at Oban station in Scotland. As part of the Williams-Shapps plan for rail, the government has pledged to audit Britain’s 2,565 rail stations.

This 1,000th audit is an important milestone as we highlight existing areas of excellence and identify opportunities for improvement. They will help produce a new public database, so people can better plan their journeys in advance and, with input from passengers with disabilities, will shape future investments in accessible rail travel.

DfT also published today several reports on transport accessibility:

  • research on the reference standard for wheelchairs will inform the broader evidence base for the design of new vehicles and transport infrastructure to meet the needs of mobility aid users
  • the Wheelchair Accessible Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Services research report, which was commissioned to understand the current use and experience of wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles
  • the second Inclusive Transport Strategy Dashboard (2020 to 2021) monitors annual changes in disability travel measures and forms part of the overall assessment of delivery against the strategy
  • a report from the first Technology Research and Innovation Grant-Accessibility (TRIG-A) scheme, which provided an investment of £600,000 to help small and medium-sized businesses develop accessibility technologies in 2021
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