UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has announced that he wants to accelerate progress to make the UK a world leader for accessible travel. The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched the ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ advertising campaign to highlight how we can all play a part in making public transport inclusive.
The campaign is being supported by more than 100 partners, including First Group, WHSmith Travel and the Alzheimer’s Society.
As one in four disabled people say the attitudes of other passengers prevent them from using public transport, the campaign aims to encourage everyone to reflect on how common, and often unconscious, behaviours can impact others and what we can all do to create a more considerate environment for passengers.
The government will also shortly be announcing 124 stations across Great Britain which will benefit from a share of a £20 million government investment for accessibility improvements. The enhancements – funded through the Access for All programme – will include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens.
Shapps said: “I want our transport system to be the best in the world for disabled people, but we still have a long way to go.
“Our ‘its everyone’s journey’ campaign highlights that we can all play a part in making transport more accessible for disabled people. I believe we should all be making a determined effort to make public transport accessible to everyone, and I am committed to accelerating the pace of change.
“We are launching a new scheme to recognise those transport operators which are getting it right and will work quickly to implement recommendations from the upcoming Keith Williams review to improve rail accessibility.”
DfT research has shown that behaviours that make public transport a daunting place for disabled people are often unconscious, such as not looking out for a fellow passenger who might need a seat or be in distress.
The campaign aims to raise awareness about the needs of disabled people when using public transport, particularly people with non-visible impairments, and will also prompt members of the public to think and consider how their behaviour might impact others.
John Birtwistle, Head of Policy at FirstGroup, commented: “FirstGroup is particularly proud to be a partner in the launch of ‘it’s everyone’s journey’. For many years we have sought to improve our services to reflect the needs of travellers with disabilities and to overcome barriers to use of public transport.
“We will continue to encourage every one of our customers to be considerate to both their fellow travellers, and to our drivers who do a great job under difficult conditions, and we welcome this wide reaching national campaign.”