Damien Moore MP recently met with disability charity Leonard Cheshire to discuss their #LetsGetOnBoard campaign which is seeking to make rail travel more accessible for disabled people and his campaign for step free access at Hillside station.
Research by the charity revealed that 40% of stations in England are not fully step free.
Damien said: “Everyone has the right to get to work and visit their friends and family as they choose, but the lack of step-free access at Hillside train station is barring disabled people from travelling independently.
“I have long been pushing to make Hillside station step-free, which would have a really positive impact for disabled passengers in my constituency.”
The Government has committed £300 million in Access for All funding to improve accessibility at train stations between now and 2024. Stations that will receive this funding will be announced in April.
Neil Heslop, Leonard Cheshire’s Chief Executive said: “It’s unacceptable that in 2019 disabled people cannot travel independently and easily whenever they want to, and are missing out on employment, education and social opportunities.
“These fundamental issues affecting rail travel for disabled people must be addressed.”
Damien Moore MP added: “I am pleased to work with Leonard Cheshire on this important issue and back their #LetsGetOnBoard campaign. Public transport is a vital part of life. It is important that train operators provide accessible end-to-end journeys so disabled people are not excluded from employment opportunities or community life.”
The personal experiences of disabled people underline why change is needed.
Chloe is a 30-year-old writer. Only one side of her local train station is wheelchair accessible, which means when she needs to catch a train, she’s unable to get to the right platform and requires a taxi to take her to the nearest accessible station, 20 minutes away. She said:
“I have to book a taxi, assistance and a train ticket in advance. This is complicated and assistance is unreliable. I get really anxious that assistance is not going to be there or that there may not be member of staff on the platform and I panic.”
“You feel stranded and completely helpless! It’s so stressful and exhausting. You feel as if you always have to anticipate a lack of help in case you are forgotten about. “
Good quality, accessible public transport means that disabled people can live, learn and work as independently as they choose. Having accessible and easier train journeys can make the difference between getting out to work and seeing family and friends instead of feeling isolated and excluded from community life.
Notes to editors:
* Research and analysis carried out by Leonard Cheshire based on data provided by Office of Rail and Road. Accessibility and mobility data available per station published on National Rail website, accessed October 2018.
* Steps prevent disabled people from using 40 per cent of Great Britain’s railway stations, according to research published by disability charity Leonard Cheshire.*
* The research reveals 40 per cent of stations in England, 50 per cent of stations in Scotland and 32 per cent of stations in Wales do not have full step-free access available for disabled people.
For further information please contact Damien's office on 01704 500577.