TSSA’s Interim General Secretary, Frank Ward, has slammed the Government’s failure to support a bid to increase accessibility in train stations across England, saying the Conservative Government are subjecting disabled passengers to a “postcode lottery”.
Clause 66 of the ‘Levelling-up and Regeneration’ Bill, if accepted, would have written into the Bill a legal requirement for the Transport Secretary of State to take “all reasonable steps” to ensure railway stations in England met disability access standards. Tim Farron, former leader of the Liberal Democrats who proposed the clause, argued in Parliament that he was doing so because of the high number of non-mainline stations that have “zero accessibility” which make them unusable for those with mobility issues. However, Conservative MP Lee Rowley argued the Bill was the ‘wrong vehicle’ for the matter and the amendment was voted down at committee stage by Tory MPs.
TSSA Interim General Secretary Frank Ward, said: “The Government’s Access For All fund doesn’t even touch the sides and has created a bidding war between stations that non-mainline ones don’t have a chance of winning, subjecting disabled passengers to a postcode lottery.
“Up and down the country passengers with mobility issues face social exclusion because train stations are not accessible. Tackling lack of access should be a priority for the Government, but the rejection of this clause shows they’re happy to make promises to disabled passengers but not willing to keep them.
"Our country deserves a railway for the 21st century and people with disabilities deserve the same access to the railway as everyone else. That means every station should be fully accessible, at all times.
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