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Public Transport: Disability

Transport written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding his Department has allocated to (a) train and (b) bus services to make them more accessible to disabled people in the last five years.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

£203m of the 10 year £370m Access for All programme has been spent in the last five years on improving access at railway stations and a further £37.5m Mid-tier fund was announced in 2011 which will be spent by March 2014. In addition, around £31 m has been allocated direct to train operators for smaller scale access improvements between 2009 and 2014. This is over and above work funded by the train operators themselves or as part of larger projects such as Birmingham New Street or Thameslink.

No direct funding is allocated to make rail vehicles more accessible. Instead the cost is included in the purchase price of new vehicles, or when such work is undertaken on older vehicles as they receive heavy maintenance. This is ahead of the legal deadline of 1 January 2020 by which time all rail vehicles must be accessible.

No direct funding has been provided by the Department specifically to improve accessibility of buses. However, the provision of funding such as the Green Bus Fund has supported the purchase of around 1,200 new, low carbon buses, more than 900 of which are now on the roads of England. All of these buses are fully accessible.

The Department for Transport continues to work to improve physical accessibility to public transport. The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) require all new buses and coaches used to provide local or scheduled services and designed to carry more than 22 passengers to be accessible to disabled passengers.

All existing buses and coaches used to provide local or scheduled services will have to comply with PSVAR by end dates between 2015 and 2020, depending on vehicle type. At November 2012, 69% of all buses in Great Britain met the PSVAR requirements.

On June 12th 2013 I announced the decision to retain the Disabled Person's Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), in recognition of DPTAC's valuable contribution to the wider transport accessibility agenda.

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