Enforcing accessibility on public transport: MPs quiz operators and regulators on failings and responsibilities
MPs look across the different transport modes to investigate failings around ensuring services are accessible to all and examine where responsibility lies.
Among the witnesses (full schedule below) for this session of the cross-party Transport Committee’s inquiry into accessible transport will be representatives of trade bodies such as the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Airlines UK, the Rail Delivery Group and the Airport Operators Association. MPs will also question senior officials from regulators including the Civil Aviation Authority, the Office for Rail and Road and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA).
Issues such as the inaccessibility of old and new railway stations will be covered in panel 1, as well as how the Office for Rail and Road enforces the ‘turn up and go’ principle on services run by the different train companies, and the availability of facilities such as ramps.
In panel 2, the aviation industry representatives will be asked to account for problems that arise when responsibility for facilitating disabled people, including their luggage and equipment, switches between airlines and airport. The CAA’s 2022 Aviation Consumer Survey found that 58% of respondents who are disabled said they have difficulty in accessing/using airports or flying.
In panel 3, which also includes the Local Government Association, there will be questions on how pavements and streetscapes are managed, how councils carry out Equality Impact Assessments, as well as how the DVSA enforces accessibility regulations on bus services.
Across all three panels there will be questions about how complaints are handled, whether regulators do enough to proactively monitor compliance with accessibility obligations, and why lessons do not appear to be learned from previous incidents to stop them reoccurring.
According to the Family Resources Survey (UK) 2018 to 2019, 21% of people in the UK have a disability. This includes physical and sensory impairments as well as non-visible disabilities such as autism or dementia. Of the 14 million disabled people in the UK, about 48% have a mobility issue and 36% experience stamina/breathing/fatigue difficulties.