Rail Network Accessibility

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th October 2018.

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Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People) 12:00 am, 11th October 2018

What recent assessment he has made of the accessibility of the rail network.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

Three quarters of all passenger journeys are now made through stations with step-free access, compared with only half in 2006, and 87% of current rolling stock now meets accessibility standards compared with 75% last year. The inclusive transport strategy is the next step in our ambition to deliver accessible transport, and it includes up to £300 million to fund the Access for All programme for stations until at least 2024. All rolling stock will meet accessibility standards by 2020.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

For thousands of disabled people, an accessible rail network can make the difference to going to work and seeing family and friends. We know that last year more than a third of disabled people experienced problems when travelling. In my constituency, three stations—Battersea Park, Queenstown Road and Wandsworth Town—are inaccessible. Rather than rail companies having to compete for funding to make stations more accessible, why cannot the Minister agree to ensure that the Access for All programme is adequately funded so that every single station can be made accessible?

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

Access for All is a £300 million fund. At present, 75% of all journeys take place via step-free stations. I understand that the Battersea station was put forward for step-free access in the previous round. The new £300 million fund that is now being made available will take on board deferred projects next April, so the hon. Lady will be pleased to note that step-free access will be allocated and, through working with Network Rail, should be delivered for her station.