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Public Transport: Staffordshire

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to ensure that public transport is accessible to people with disabilities in (a) Tamworth constituency and (b) Staffordshire. (270087)

The Department for Transport allocates integrated transport block and highways maintenance funding to local transport authorities for general capital investment in transport. This funding is not ring-fenced and local authorities have discretion to spend their allocations in line with their priorities. The total allocation provided to Staffordshire (which covers Tamworth) in 2008-09 is £21.522 million.

The “Access for All” programme is part of the “Railways for All” strategy, and was launched by the Department in 2006 to address the issues faced by disabled passengers using railway stations in Great Britain.

The Department has awarded just under £300,000 of Access for All Small Schemes funding towards accessibility improvements worth almost £615,000 at seven stations in Staffordshire. These are Blythe Bridge, Cannock, Hednesford, Kidsgrove, Landywood, Rugeley Town, and Tutbury and Hatton.

To ensure that disabled people are able to use public transport, by law all new trains, buses and coaches used on scheduled services now have to be physically accessible, including to wheelchair users. We have set deadlines for all trains to be accessible by 2020 and all buses used on local or scheduled services will be required to meet accessibility standards by 2017.