Transport CommitteeWritten evidence from Transport for Greater Manchester (DAT 57)

Thank you for the invitation to submit evidence to your inquiry into the effectiveness of legislation relating to transport for disabled people. TfGM is committed to supporting the travel needs of disabled people in Greater Manchester, and we welcome this demonstration of the Select Committee’s interest.

This response focuses on the first question set by the Committee regarding the effectiveness of transport legislation, and in particular whether it is comprehensive enough and is it enforced.

We would highlight the importance of standards coordination here and the extent to which standards have evolved in line with advances in knowledge in terms of new approaches to inclusive design. It is worth noting that, to date, no review dates have been set for Inclusive Mobility, PSVAR or RVAR. Consequently, whilst guidance in relation to inclusive design standards for the built (transport) environment (PSVAR and RVAR) all offer a standard set of design principles these have remained relatively static, with the exception of some amendments to RVAR which came into effect in 2010. This has occurred despite the dynamic of disabled people’s wider requirements transport and travel requirements over that time.

This can be highlighted within the following areas:

the evolution of certain types of mobility aid has challenged the current effectiveness of PSVAR and RVAR. This is well-highlighted in the context of the many types of mobility scooters that are now for sale on the open market, many of which do not fit within the PSVAR and RVAR dimensions for wheelchair spaces on bus and rail vehicles. The absence of any direct coordination of this market has left many areas of public transport unable to accommodate mobility scooter users’ needs; and

advances in assistive technology, such as smart phones and associated software, have led to an opportunity to amend both PSVAR and RVAR. However, both regulations have remained static resulting in a lack of opportunity to make use of such advances to improve disabled peoples journey experiences.

Whilst it is recognised that the Department for Transport recently published its action plan to improve accessibility for all, the Committee may wish to ensure that appropriate action planning is in place to future proof the regulatory framework in the interests of both disabled travellers and transport providers.

January 2013

Prepared 13th September 2013