West Dorset is set to benefit from a share of a £20 million government fund, as Dorchester South station receives much-needed funding for accessibility improvements. This is something Chris Loder MP has long campaigned for and will be a real boost to the many disabled passengers, and others, who would like to use services from the station but require better accessibility in order to do so.
Read the full announcement:
Disabled passengers across Great Britain are set to benefit from accessibility improvements at 124 stations thanks to a £20 million government fund.
The enhancements announced by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today (26 February 2020) are funded through the Access for All programme and will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.
It comes as a new government campaign launched this week to improve the journeys of disabled passengers on public transport.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives - but is not the reality for everyone.
I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 124 train stations across the country more accessible - a key part of levelling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all.
This is just the start of a much more ambitious agenda. My goal is to go much further in the years ahead to help ensure that our country’s transport system becomes one of the most accessible in the world.
These improvements are being made through the Access for All programme which, since 2006, has already made more than 200 stations step free, as well as delivered smaller scale accessibility improvements at more than 1,500 others to improve passenger experience.
Today’s £20 million is part of a £300 million package announced last year which is already providing accessible, step free routes at 73 stations across Great Britain, making it easier for disabled people to travel on the UK’s rail network.
Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said:
Everyone using our rail network deserves platforms and toilets they can use and this £20 million investment to improve 124 railway stations across the country will make a huge difference to disabled people.
This government is committed to levelling up the playing field and later this year we’ll launch a national strategy which will ensure disabled people have equal access to all spheres of life.
This follows the launch of the it’s everyone’s journey advertising campaign to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive. The campaign is being supported by more than 100 partners, including First Group, WHSmith Travel and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Department for Transport research has shown that behaviours that make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for a fellow passenger who might need a seat or be in distress.
‘it’s everyone’s journey’ will raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments, and will also prompt members of the public to think and consider how their behaviour might impact others.
Alongside this, the department has also launched its Inclusive Transport Leaders scheme, an accreditation scheme which will encourage, celebrate and promote best practice in inclusive transport.
Operators, such as bus and train companies, are encouraged to sign up to the Inclusive Transport Leaders Scheme, where they will work towards one of three accreditation levels by demonstrating the steps they have taken to improve the travelling experiences of disabled passengers, older people, and those with reduced mobility.
These improvements form part of the wider Inclusive Transport Strategy and supports the government’s ambition of achieving equal access for all on public transport.