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Disabled access to public transport 'worse than before 2012' claims Paralympics star

A new report by the charity Whizz-Kidz says transport issues left many young people feeling excluded from job opportunities or accessing health and education services

Two in three young wheelchair users don't use buses and trains because of poor access, a charity said today.

Improvements during the 2012 Paralympic Games had been lost and some public transport services were worse, it claimed.

The seven to 24-year-olds told Whizz-Kidz they were not as independent as they would like to be.

Many were being excluded from job opportunities or put off using health and education services.

Paralympian and charity patron Hannah Cockroft said: "During the Games people felt confident. Things have gone backwards."

Almost half of disabled young people said their main issue is having areas on public transport which are not accessible to them.

Just under a fifth said they had experienced a lack of support when travelling, and 12% said the biggest problem was a negative attitude from staff and passengers.

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Getty Hannah Cockroft of Great Britain poses with the gold at the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m T34 Final during the Evening Session on Day One of the IPC Athletics World Championships at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium on October 22, 2015 in Doha, Qatar

Medal winner: But Hannah Cockroft says access to public transport has got worse than before the London 2012 games

One recalled falling out of their chair and into a train carriage when their wheels became stuck in the gap, saying: "The trains are never level with the platform."

Almost three quarters of people outside London said they had more difficulty with public transport, which was reported not to be as accessible as the buses, taxis and trams in the capital.

Most people said they chose to either be driven by their parents, or get a taxi, rather than use public transport because there are too many barriers in their way. But some said taxi trips could be costly.

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When it comes to air travel three-quarters of those surveyed said they had concerns about their wheelchair being damaged on the flight, and 71% said they had not been able to access the toilets while on the plane.

The charity, which used survey responses from 128 wheelchair users and their carers as well as focus groups to compile its Get On Board report on the use of public and private transport, is calling on the Government and other providers to make improvements so travel is more "inclusive