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Railways: Wheelchair Users

Volume 706: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 20 November (WA 227) on arrangements train operators must make for accommodating wheelchair users, what is meant by “reasonable steps”; and whether any written guidance is available. [HL12]

It is for each station operator to decide policies in this area and compliance will vary depending on the circumstances of individual stations. There is no prescribed definition of “reasonable”. Ultimately this is a matter for the courts to decide, taking into account the individual facts of any case brought by a disabled person who feels that they have been discriminated against.

Guidance on this issue, Avoiding Disability Discrimination in Transport: A Practical Guide for Rail Services, was produced by the Disability Rights Commission. The commission also produced two statutory codes of practice on Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act. These are the Code of Practice—Rights of Access: Services to the Public, Public Authority Functions, Private Clubs and Premises and the Code of Practice: Provision and Use of Transport Vehicles.

These publications are available from the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 20 November (WA 227) on arrangements train operators must make for accommodating wheelchair users, what is meant by “will provide”; and whether disabled passengers are obliged to give notice of their travel to the station. [HL13]

Where a disabled person's journey starts from or finishes at a station that is inaccessible to them, there is an obligation upon the train operator to supply, at no additional charge, some form of accessible transport from the start station to the next accessible station along the route, or from the final accessible station to the destination station.

This obligation is usually subject to operators being given reasonable prior notice of the need for alternative transport, and to the availability of suitable alternative transport.

Information about these arrangements should be well publicised in information material aimed at passengers who have some form of disability.