The Department for Transport is currently considering a recommendation to close 675 ticket offices around the UK, a decision which could end travel for many disabled people.
This means there would be fewer people to help disabled people in stations and make travelling by rail a problem for many disabled people.
It’s already an issue trying to get on and off trains without ramps but with no staff to operate the ramps that are there means that many journeys for disabled people will just get more difficult.
If the closures go ahead, be prepared for newspapers carrying stories about disabled people having to get off at the wrong station and either travelling on another train back to where they want to be and hope someone will help or using other forms of transport to get where they need to be.
Unfortunately the situation would mean that it would be almost impossible for a disabled person to travel anywhere on the railways. (And that’s not including the issue of disabled people not being able to use the ticket office in the first place).
Bizarrely, the news coincides with the DfT’s paper called ‘Accessible train and station design for disabled people’. It’s a dry piece of work but has some potential (which we may blog on shortly) but clashes with the fact any design improvements will be overtaken by the issue that disabled people will have undoubtedly given up on public transport.
The ticket office closures has come about because of a report by Sir Roy McNulty and many MPs, including Labour’s Lisa Nandy, have lined up to stop the closures being implemented.
Lisa also called on the government to make train and bus companies improve access for disabled travellers.
There’s also a real likelihood that some routes will have to be closed.
To be fair, the Government is calling on disabled people to complain to their MPs and for those MPs to take the matters to the Government.
That way any potential issues may be resolved – but it means disabled people fighting to keep a system that fundamentally doesn’t work and doesn’t serve them.
The Government says it is trying to create a transport service that works in the 21st century.
That’s a noble ambition but many disabled people who use public transport would just like a system that works full stop.
Find your MP and make your voice heard: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/