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Rail Services (Disabled Access)

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on people with disabilities, who have the use of a motorised scooter, having access to the rail network; whether he has discussed this issue with the rail industry; what guidance he has issued to them; and if he will make a statement. [118076]

Scooters are intended to provide local outdoor mobility for disabled people. The majority of train operating companies, and indeed other transport operators, will not carry scooters. Many are physically too big to fit in a train or a bus and are not sufficiently stable to travel safely in vehicles.It is a matter for individual operators to decide what is safe and appropriate for their particular type of operation.The regulations that have been introduced under the Disability Discrimination Act to require access for disabled people to trains and buses specify the maximum wheelchair dimensions that need to be accommodated. These dimensions are based on the international wheelchair standard and are bigger than the great majority of wheelchairs in this country. They are not, however, intended to accommodate scooters. They were set after extensive consultation and with the agreement of our statutory advisers on disability the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC).We have been working with the wheelchair manufacturing industry to produce guidance for disabled people on the compatibility of the full range of currently available products with public transport. That guidance will be published very shortly.