Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Disablement Association in the London Borough of Barnet (IT 135)


  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

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