More disabled people are using train transport and according to the Office of Rail and Road, the number of passengers requesting assistance on the railways has increased to over one million in the last three years. It is now more vital than ever to ensure that those with limited mobility are accommodated for – opening up our rail network to all.
Currently, those having to factor accessibility into their travel plans may be disappointed with some train services where carriages are not adequately designed for wheelchair or scooter access. In other cases, it is possible to travel with your folding mobility scooter but the access ramps cannot support the weight when getting on and off the train.
To this end, the Department for Transport has been supporting the need to adjust carriages and stations, making choosing public transport a convenient option for everyone. In its recent report it announced that as of this month, 60 per cent of rolling stock on the UK’s rail lines are now accessible for disabled passengers.
Rail transport refurbished to accommodate disabled passengers
According to the annual report Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations Exemption Orders, published in May, 6,275 heavy rail vehicles (the equivalent of half the national fleet) and a further 2,100 non-heavy vehicles have been built to follow Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations. In addition, 1,628 vehicles such as carriages have been refurbished to accommodate disabled passengers.
Train carriages have been adapted to make journeys easier for those with a number of disabilities. For passengers with restricted mobility, the improvements include reducing the gap between the platform and step as well as wider doors, passageways and seats.
Today 10,700 accessible trains are in service on the country’s railway and under the Equality Act 2010, the Department for Transport is obliged to ensure that all passenger trains comply with accessibility regulations by 2020.
You can find out more about travelling with your mobility scooter on Britain’s railways through National Rail Enquiries.
Image Credit: Chitrapa (wikimedia.org)