All trains will be accessible to disabled people by 2020,
transport minister Charlotte Atkins said today, which follows the
introduction of the Disability Discrimination Bill in Queen’s
Speech last month, writes Haroon
The bill is the final step in the government’s plans to
extend rights and opportunities for disabled people and will
substantially amend the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, the
Department of Transport said in a statement.
“It is important that disabled people have confidence
that, when travelling by rail, the train that arrives will be
accessible to them”, said Atkins about the proposals which
will apply to England, Wales and Scotland.
Disabled rights group Leonard Cheshire said it was disappointed
rail companies had been given another 16 years to make trains more
“2020 is later than we would have liked but the key now is
to ensure that these regulations are properly enforced. It is a
relief to actually have a date after years of discussion and
prevarication,” said the charity.
Since 1999 new trains have had to comply with accessibility
regulations, including minimum standards for audio and visual
information systems, wheelchair accommodation, and accessible
“Existing trains will have to be more accessible when they
are refurbished and improvements to the regulatory regime are also
proposed,” said Atkins.
There are 1,900 new accessible vehicles in service, which are
also more user friendly for passengers with heavy luggage or
parents with pushchairs.
Another 700 trains are expected in the next 18 months.
Accessibility regulations are already in place for buses and