The Quingo team recently wrote about a BBC exposé that found many companies and services in the UK which were not doing enough to make themselves accessible for those less able. We were glad to see that since the report many of these companies had taken action to improve their accessibility.
However, a recent article in the Guardian has suggested that only “one in five” train stations in the country are fully accessible.
What the Papworth Trust discovered
Research by the charity Papworth Trust found that some disabled travellers are deterred from taking the train by poorly trained staff and inaccessible stations. In addition to this, two-thirds of people with disabilities said the fact they had to book assistance, instead of simply turning up to go, meant that they used trains less than they otherwise would.
The charity also found that one in five disabled passengers were unaware of additional help through the Passenger Assist service and one in six had mistakenly been told by station staff that advance booking was essential for them to travel on a train. The Quingo team have covered what you need to know about Passenger Assist in a helpful blogpost.
Improving access for those with limited mobility
Here at Quingo we want you to get out and about on your scooter, this includes being able to take your Quingo on the train. To help Quingo scooter users, we’ve outlined some useful information to consider when taking your scooter on the train. Due to this, we were interested to read the statistics uncovered by the Papworth Trust report.
Vicky McDermott, the charity’s chief executive, said: “People’s experiences of rail travel vary hugely depending on accessibility and the attitudes and training of staff. We have identified some small and easy changes which could make a big difference to disabled people.”
Is progress just around the corner?
Is universal accessibility far away then? The Papworth Trust said that improving access at just 67 of the busiest stations would mean that three-quarters of all rail journeys would have accessible stops. However, as many of our stations date back to the Victorian era, making all of them fully accessible will prove a challenge.
The trust also said that some progress had been made, with the number of accessible stations having doubled over the past 12 years. The government has also said that more than 1,100 stations will have seen some improvements under the Access for All programme by the end of 2015. All trains will be required by law to meet modern accessibility standards by 2020; according to the Department of Transport, 60% had already reached that target.
At Quingo, we understand that some disabled travellers are put off by having to ask for assistance when travelling by rail. However, as the report details, things are improving on our trains and at our rail stations. This should encourage more Quingo users to get out and about and take advantage of the increased freedom that using a Quingo 5 wheel scooter offers.