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Huppert supports disabled people's transport demo

June 20, 2012 10:55 AM

MP Julian Huppert backed a demonstration by disabled people today (Tuesday, June 19) in the hope that his support will help make transport more accessible for passengers in Cambridge and across the country.

Julian supported The Right to Ride Demonstration in Westminster joining up to 100 people who will take the bus to the Confederation of British Transport which represents the bus industry.

They want bus and train companies with a poor record on accessibility to be denied future contracts.

Julian hopes his support will not only highlight the situation in London but also in Cambridge where lack of accessibility to buses is making life difficult for disabled residents in his home city.

Cambridge City Council's Access Officer, Mark Taylor outlined some of the problems facing the city's disabled travellers including:

  • a lack of wheelchair spaces on buses which means that two people in wheelchairs cannot travel on the same bus;
  • no way of securing wheelchairs to buses;
  • most bus stops do not have audio announcements which would let blind people know which bus has arrived;
  • some buses which don't have on board audio announcements making it impossible to know which stop has been reached;
  • disabled commuters can get to London, but once they are there the tube is mostly inaccessible.

Disabled people also fear that government cuts to the Mobility component of the Disabled Living Allowance, designed to meet extra transport costs such as adapted cars or taxis, could leave hundreds of thousands reliant on public transport.

Julian said: "It is only when you see our transport system through the eyes of a disabled person that you realise the challenges they face accomplishing tasks that we take for granted.

"Transport companies across the country need to take a long, hard look at the obstacles they are putting in the way of people who want to access their services. We put laws in place to make sure that the disabled were not discriminated against when it came to accessibility, and yet many are finding our transport system does just that.

"Many disabled people can work and want to work but our transport system makes it difficult or downright impossible for them to do so. This is not acceptable and transport operators, our government and local authorities must all play their part in changing this situation."