Memorandum by the Disablement Association
in the London Borough of Barnet (IT 135)
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
Whilst we welcome the White Paper and it's promises
of improved access to transport for disabled people, we want to
see those promises turned into action.
We are concerned that pressure to reduce the
use of cars will make life even more difficult for many disabled
people who cannot use public transport and rely on their cars
to be independent. Particularly workplace parking levies will
be detrimental to disabled people.
Unfortunately the draft DDA Bus Regulations
don't fully take on board the needs of people with sensory impairment,
learning difficulties and people using larger wheelchairs. Similar
problems exist for the underground stations and railways and we
are disappointed that there is no end date by which all rail vehicles
have to be accessible.
We welcome the commitment to make pavings and
crossings more accessible. Currently pavements are in a dreadful
state, frequently due to cars and lorries parking on pavements.
Additional time on crossings will be very much appreciated by
disabled people. Local blind people are unhappy about the increased
use of traffic calming raised surfaces and inappropriate use of
tactile surfaces which merely mislead guide dogs and blind people.
We would recommend the use of more audible sound crossings with
rotating cone vibrators which are useful for blind and deaf people.
Disabled people are worried about the increase
of motorcycles and bicycles, and want legislation to make cyclists
have a horn or bell so that they can warn elderly and blind people.
With regard to the railways we believe staff
need to have disability awareness training. The right sort of
assistance is very patchy especially when changing trains. Through
ticketing is essential for Disabled People, and they often have
difficulties getting through to stations to get information.
We understand that a review is being carried
out of door to door transport with a view to integrating services.
We cannot believe that this could work. Since the regionalisation
of Dial-a-Ride, we have received nothing but complaints about
the service which no longer meets the needs of the people who
need it most. For example they only take two wheelchairs per vehicle,
they do not take electric scooters and it is not possible to get
regular bookings for individuals and due to poor management of
the local Dial-a-Ride many users are dissatisfied and are unable
to use the service.
We hope that the Commission for Integrated Transport
will have disabled and sensory impaired representatives. We would
like to see a transport card available to disabled people which
would cover concessions on air travel and sea travel as well as
trains and buses.
We hope that the Government will be able to
provide the cash that will be needed over the next few years to
make accessible transport for people with disabilities a reality.
Janice Berman (Mrs)
6 October 1998