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Public Transport Access: Sight Loss

Volume 678: debated on Thursday 2 July 2020

What recent discussions he has had with transport providers on safe access to public transport for people with sight loss as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased. (904130)

The Government remain committed to delivering inclusive transport for all passengers. My officials and I meet regularly with transport providers and make it clear that they must consider the needs of all passengers as transport restarts. My most recent meeting involving a sight loss charity was last Friday.

I thank the Minister for his answer. My constituent Janice, who is blind, is anxious about how to keep safe and stay socially distant on public transport, and she is not alone. The Royal National Institute of Blind People’s director of services, David Clarke, said:

“Social distancing is near-impossible for…blind and partially sighted people which makes it difficult to go out and get food…exercise or attend medical appointments”.

Will the Minister take this opportunity to reassure the RNIB and my constituent by acting early to ensure that all transport providers in England have the funds available for new accessible signage, so that social pressure to keep to the rules does not have an unfair impact on blind and partially sighted people?

I thank the hon. Lady for her excellent question. She is absolutely right in everything she says. I have been working with a whole range of accessibility groups and disability charities to try to make sure that we get our messaging right, because we want to welcome everyone back to our rail system eventually and we want it to be the most accessible in the world. We have a long way to go, but we are working with those groups to deliver that service as best we can.