Today is “Purple Tuesday”, a day dedicated to ensuring that the needs of disabled people, as valued consumers, are properly recognised and that they receive the best levels of customer service.
As the Minister with the Department for Transport responsible for accessible transport, I am determined that the transport network deliver an equally first-class experience to disabled people. The challenges disabled people face when using our transport system are well documented, and while good progress has been made, I recognise there is still more to do.
I want to see continued steps being taken to improve disabled people’s experience accessing transport. I also want to see our ambition for a fully inclusive and accessible transport network by 2030, with assistance if infrastructure remains a barrier, realised. I am equally determined that the current pandemic and its aftereffects will not limit our ambition to achieving this.
Thus, I am pleased to help mark “Purple Tuesday” by announcing further progress on delivering our inclusive transport strategy.
The strategy was published in 2018 setting out an ambitious programme for transforming the transport system, and today I am publishing a report detailing what has been delivered in the past two years. In the last year we have, for example, published a passenger rights toolkit, which provides guidance to maritime operators on how to comply with passenger rights regulations; and launched the “It’s everyone’s journey” public awareness campaign.
Alongside the update on the inclusive transport strategy, I am also announcing:
Details of the first set of operators who have successfully applied to the inclusive transport leaders scheme, which allows operators to receive formal recognition for the positive actions they are taking to improve disabled passengers’ experiences of using the transport system, and to encourage others to follow.
A disability equality awareness training package that we are making available, free of charge, for all transport operators. This will ensure that all transport operators, big and small, can access a common standard of disability training for their staff; and
A funding competition, which will enable businesses to bid for grant funding to develop products or services that will improve the travel experience for disabled people.
I am grateful to the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and representatives of disabled peoples’ organisations who continue to hold both myself and the Department to account for the delivery of the inclusive transport strategy, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as the strategy enters its third year.
Copies of this letter and the report on the progress of the inclusive transport strategy have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.