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Everyone should be able to get to, and use, rail services, including stations and trains. For many people this is not currently possible due to barriers created by the design, management and operation of the rail system or difficulties getting to services.
The Government has asked DPTAC to advise on why this is the case and recommend strategic actions to address problems facing disabled people when rail services. Much is already being done.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aims to prevent the discrimination of disabled people and to ensure rail services are accessible. All new rail vehicles have to meet Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR). By 2004 those rail stations will have to ensure they have removed barriers to disabled people.
Network Rail has a duty to publish a Code of Practice on meeting the needs of disabled passengers, having previously been the responsibility of the Office of the Rail Regulator. A new Code of Practice is expected shortly.
Transport 2010: The 10 Year Plan for Transport makes a commitment that accessibility for disabled people will be a condition of public money being spent. The rail industry should have to demonstrate compliance with the Code of Practice and guidance on meeting the needs of disabled people if they are to receive public subsidy and investment.
Yet problems remain.
The Rail Working Group (RWG) was established in 1994 following the privatisation of British Rail and replaced the British Rail Advisory Group.
Our main objective is to advise on improving access to rail services for disabled people, taking into account complementary advice from other DPTAC Working Groups.
Our membership includes representatives from disability interests and those concerned with the regulation and operation of the rail system. We also have observers from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and other Government agencies.
Our role is to focus on the strategic issues. This enables DPTAC to be more effective in influencing the process and outcome in all areas rather than specific schemes. Our work helps to inform those seeking to improve access at a local level. Local people will be aware of how this guidance can be applied to local circumstances.
In 1999 we established a Rail Vehicles exemptions sub-group to advise the Minister on applications by train operators for exemptions from the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR).
We advocate the promotion of an accessible transport system in the advice we give to Government.
An accessible transport system is one that recognises the need for every stage in the journey to be accessible to disabled people. It sets out to include as many people as possible. It does not attempt to meet every single need. Rather, by considering people's diversity, accessible transport systems try to break down unnecessary barriers and exclusion. In doing so it will often achieve superior solutions that benefit everyone.
Recently we have;
We are currently considering the following;
We welcome your comments and views on the issues raised above and any priorities not considered. Click here to e-mail us ideas.
If you are a rail operator;
If you are a disabled person;
If you develop rail vehicles and facilities;
Updated: 13 August 2004 | Copyright disclaimer | Content disclaimer | © Crown Copyright 2009