This month marks the one-year anniversary since the publication of the Inclusive Transport Strategy. As Transport Accessibility Minister I am very proud of all that has been achieved in the last twelve months and this Government remains fully committed to delivering against the commitments set out in the Strategy.
Whilst a relatively short period of time has passed since the publication of the Strategy, we have already reached some significant milestones and continue to make steady progress in delivering the Strategy’s commitments. Achievements include:
A commitment to extend the Access for All programme with an additional £300 million, delivering improvements at a further 73 stations between 2019 and 2024;
An invitation to motorway service stations to apply for a share of £2 million funding for fully accessible Changing Places facilities, supporting disabled people to travel easily and comfortably on the road network;
The introduction of the first ever impartial and independent Rail Ombudsman, making sure passengers are heard and that they get a fair deal when train companies fall short;
The extension of the Blue Badge eligibility criteria to include people with non-visible disabilities (mental, cognitive, learning, psychological, and neurological); and
The publication of the ‘Inclusive Transport Strategy: Monitoring and Evaluation framework’.
Nonetheless, I acknowledge that there is still more to do to ensure that all disabled people have the same access to transport as everyone else and can travel confidently, easily and without extra cost. The Government will continue to work with transport operators, charities and disabled people’s organisations to ensure we achieve our overall goal, which remains to create a transport system which offers equal access for disabled passengers by 2030, with assistance if physical infrastructure remains a barrier.
I have today written to the Chairs of the APPG for Disability, the Transport Select Committee, the Women and Equalities Select Committee and the Health and Social Care Select Committee, including further detail on the progress of the past year. Copies of this letter have been placed in the libraries of both Houses.