25 July 2018
RMT Press Office:
Rail union RMT on Transport Accessibility Strategy issued this morning
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash responds to ‘Next steps towards a fully inclusive transport network’, a new DFT strategy will improve accessibility across all types of travel for people with visible and less visible disabilities released this morning.
“RMT supports any genuine moves that will ensure disabled people have the same access to transport as everyone else but that will never happen if the industry is allowed to continue to de-staff stations and trains, removing the very thing that all passengers value, especially the elderly, vulnerable and disabled traveller– quality trained and professional staff.
“RMT’s industrial action on South Western Railway starting at midnight tonight is all about putting safety, security and access to rail services for all right at the top of the agenda.
“The truth is that axing guards and cutting station staff has left disabled passengers stranded with Govia Thameslink Railway a repeat offender. That reality flies right in the face of today’s accessibility strategy. Cuts to bus services have escalated transport poverty and left many who should be beneficiaries of any accessibility strategy cut off and isolated. That hard fact also needs to be addressed if we are to take these warm words seriously.
“Let us also not forget we have had previous plans in 2005 and 2102 which did not deliver much and the situation continues to get worse as more and more people are classified as disabled. The promised £300m to meet targets in 2030 is a drop in the ocean when spread across all transport services as we found with the £130m “Access for All” programme. RMT has always believed everyone involved in and around transport needs to view disabled people as both a key customer group and an excellent source of information when improving their services, not just in the way these are provided for disabled people themselves, but for everyone.
“Disabled people need to be involved from the start of discussions on the design, development and improvement of transport policies, services and infrastructure – indeed on everything to do with their travel needs but nothing will ensure disabled people can travel confidently and easily without the knowledge that staff are always available if they need them. That is why we call on the rail industry, and specifically South West Railway where we are striking over the threat to the guards, to recognise this fact and guarantee that the guard will be on board the train to deliver accessibility for all.”
Policy paper The government's plans to make our transport system more inclusive and better for disabled people. The Department for Transport's strategy to create an inclusive transport system for disabled travellers.