Date: 15 May 1998
Trains and trams entering service after 31 December 1998 will be fully accessible to disabled people under plans set out today by Transport Minister, Glenda Jackson.
In a consultation document, the Government is seeking views on proposed regulations to ensure that the rail industry meets the needs of those with limited mobility under the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Commenting, Ms Jackson said:
"The Government is committed to comprehensive, enforceable civil rights for disabled people. Accessible public transport, within the framework of an integrated transport policy, is fundamentally important to delivering that commitment. "These regulations, which will require wheelchair access and other facilities to meet the needs of disabled people on all new trains and trams, will make a significant contribution towards improving access to public transport for those with limited mobility."
A full assessment of the costs of introducing the regulations is included in the consultation document. Published by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, it follows two previous informal consultations on proposals for taxis and for buses and coaches under the transport provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DR
Disabled People's Direct Action Network (DAN)
The UK Government has issued a consultation document on access to trains. The department is DETR - The Department for the Environment, Transport and Regions. The consultation is part of the DDA - The Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
The deadline for responses is 26 June 1998.
The draft regulations will only apply to new trains first used from 1 January 1999.
The draft regulations cover a number of technical issues, for example on the types of colour contrasts which should be used for doors to make them easy to find for visually impaired people. This note is not a full description of all these details - instead this is a first attempt to identify the key issues and limitations which will be of concern.
The increase in cost for accessible trains is estimated to be between 0.5% and 2.5% of current prices (page 49).
"The expensive business of making [underground] stations wheelchair accessible is covered by a different part of the [DDA] which is being taken forward by the Department for Education and Employment." (page 53)
Underground trains will probably include London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Newcastle. I understand that the Liverpool and Newcastle companies have accessible stations, and accessible trains in Newcastle - is this correct ?
Although London Underground are currently introducing some new trains with a wheelchair symbol on some doors, these doors are towards the middle of carriages. However, at some curved platform, the centre doors have the widest gap and the end doors have the narrowest gap, so London Underground's planners could have designed the wheelchair spaces at the end of carriages as well.
You might want to send for a copy of the full document, which is free of charge.
DAN regional groups might want to consider making their views known, maybe with some press coverage.
Any meetings with train companies (Virgin, Stagecoach, etc) could be used to try to get commitments to a better deal, and use these against the worst companies.
London Underground is a different kind of company, with close links to Government, so a more political approach is probably required here. If they have got billions of pounds for new tunnels, would a 300 pound ramp on each train really break the bank ? And we could hold competitions to see how quickly you can flip out and back in again a hinged, manual ramp. Glenda to go first!
DAN campaigns for accessible public transport and full civil rights for disabled people.
We use tactics of NON VIOLENT civil disobedience such as handcuffing ourselves to buses, occupying transport offices and crawling into Parliament to draw public attention to the issues that affect disabled people every day.
DAN uses these tactics to get to the negotiating table, talk to the people who can give us what they want and get a victory.
We believe that segregation is evil and affects everybody. We believe that discrimination against disabled people fundamentally damages the social fabric of our society and is unjust.
Currently DAN is focusing on accessible public transport as an achievable goal towards the overall aim of full participation and equality of disabled people in this society.
Any one can join DAN we welcome disabled people and non disabled allies. DAN has a network of local organising groups who organise actions, meet and discus issues that affect people locally and nationally. When you join we can put you in touch with these groups.
DAN holds two national 3 day actions a year in different parts of the country and the best way to get involved is to get to those actions and meet everybody. These actions have been known to change peoples lives so beware!
To join DAN please ring National DAN on 0181 889 1361
or Write to DAN at:
3, Crawley Rd.
London N22 6AN
or email DAN :- firstname.lastname@example.org
DAN has very little money and much of DAN's work is done through disabled peoples personal commitment and finance. We need money to provide information and to ensure that no matter how poor a disabled person is they can afford to demonstrate for their rights. Your donation will go towards ensuring that disabled people can take part in their struggle for liberation. Please send as much as you can to National DAN at the address above.