Transport Ministers and Human Rights watchdog face MPs on accessibility failings
The Transport Committee will question the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Transport Ministers for the final session of its inquiry into the rights and regulations concerning accessibility on public transport
The session will come days after the cross-party Committee published results of a survey of 825 adults who have an accessibility need or provide assistance to a disabled person. It found:
- 67% of the respondents “always” or “often” experience problems whilst trying to use public transport.
- 34% said that, on a weekly basis, difficulties with public transport make them decide not to make a journey; another 26% said this happens to them at least once a month.
- Compared to other modes of transport, travelling by pavement caused the most difficulty. Over two thirds of respondents said it caused them difficulties “always”, “often” or “most of the time”.
- 64% said travelling by bus caused difficulties for them more often than not, compared to 62% for travelling by train.
Questions to the EHRC’s Deputy Chief Executive John Kirkpatrick will centre around its record of monitoring and prosecuting breaches of the Equality Act that happen on transport services, and the role it should have in providing legal aid to individuals who try to sue service providers.
There will also be questions about why the EHRC dropped transport accessibility as one of its six strategic objectives in 2022, and what the organisation learnt in the time between adopting that objective in 2019 and withdrawing it three years later.
MPs will quiz Ministers with responsibility for rail, road, aviation and local transport in the second panel.
They will be asked to respond to the Committee’s survey results and explain how the Department for Transport is working to improve accessibility across all modes of transport.
The Ministers will also be asked to respond to a range of criticisms that have been made throughout the inquiry, including that the current “patch work” of rights and regulations needs reforming.
MPs will also be interested in the Ministers’ views on how accessibility is taken into considerations as new innovations in transport are adopted, and how DfT’s Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee is used to inform policy decisions.
Disability affects around 14 million people in the UK. It includes physical and sensory impairments as well as non-visible disabilities, such as autism, dementia and anxiety. According to the Family Resources Survey (UK) 2018 to 2019, 21% of people in the UK have a disability.