Department for Transport announces £20 million for station accessibility improvements

Post date: 
Monday, 8 July 2019
Category: 
Inclusive journeys
Campaigning news
 Image shows train at station platform

Blind and partially sighted people rely on public transport to get around. Ensuring that public transport is accessible and inclusive, so people can be independent, is absolutely fundamental. We're asking your help to highlight the issues to the Department for Transport.

Making sure that public transport is inclusive doesn’t have to be difficult. On train journeys for example, this might include things like making sure that audio and visual announcements are clear and timely, that platform edges are fitted with appropriate tactile paving to indicate danger zones, and that assistance is available and reliable when it is requested. 

However, for many years activists, community groups and charities – including RNIB – have campaigned about public transport accessibility. Despite this, there are still many unacceptable barriers preventing people with disabilities from being able to travel safely and independently.

Some of the biggest issues which we hear about are: 

  • unreliable booked assistance (such as ‘Turn Up and Go’)
  • inaccessible ticketing and journey planning information
  • missing tactile paving at platform edges
  • huge gaps between trains and platform edges
  • unclear or missing audio and visual announcements
  • missing or untrained staff
  • lack of step free access. 

So when the Department for Transport (DfT) announced in 2018 their ‘Inclusive Transport Strategy: Achieving Equal Access for Disabled People by 2030’, we welcomed it as an important step forward.

On the first anniversary of the Inclusive Transport Strategy, the £20 million government fund announced today will be available for stations needing accessibility improvements, including things like tactile paving and Harrington Humps (which reduce platform to train gaps). 

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: 

We want disabled people to travel easily, confidently and without extra cost, which is why it is fantastic to be opening this fund today. I look forward to seeing what ideas the industry has for accessibility improvements as we work towards a more inclusive rail network.

A long time coming, but this is still an important step towards inclusive journeys. To try to speed things up a bit, we would like to help DfT in identifying which stations need accessibility improvements… But we need you!

Is your local station, or a station you use regularly, not properly accessible? Is the tactile paving worn out or totally missing? Are the audio or visual announcements unclear or too last minute to be of use? Does the gap between the train and platform risk a serious fall? Are staff unhelpful or absent? 

Please let us know on social media, and don’t forget to: 

  • name the station and the accessibility problem
  • tweet us @RNIB_Campaigns
  • tweet the DfT @transportgovuk
  • Tweet your local MP if you know who they are
  • Use #InclusiveJourneys #InclusiveTransport #AccessForAll

If you don’t know who your MP is and want to find out, you can search using your postcode on the parliament.uk website, or you can ring the House of Commons Enquiry Service on 0207 219 4272. If you don’t use social media, you could email or write to your local MP instead.

Find out more about our Inclusive Journeys campaigning