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Railways: Autism and Learning Disability

Department for Transport written question – answered on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that train companies have effective accessibility plans for passengers with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism.

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

All train operating companies (TOCs) are required as part of their licence condition to have in place a Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP) which sets out their plans to make sure disabled passengers, including those with learning disabilities and autism, are able to use the rail network.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is responsible for monitoring TOCs’ compliance with their DPPPs. ORR has the powers to take enforcement action where there are breaches of licence conditions, and the Department has encouraged them to do so. The Department is working closely with the ORR as they review the requirements in the DPPP guidance.

In the Inclusive Transport Strategy published in 2018, the Department set out the actions it will take to make the rail network more accessible for people with all disabilities, for example requiring train operators to provide enhanced disability awareness training covering a range of disabilities including non-visible disabilities such as learning disabilities and autism to all staff. The strategy can be found on the Gov.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-transport-strategy.

The Williams Rail Review is considering the needs and priorities of disabled passengers in its work, and identifying how accessibility can be improved for everyone.

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