In the RMT survey, 89% of station staff said that the plans would worsen the experience for disabled passengers and those who need more support. 93% of on-board staff said they believed that introducing more Driver Only Operated trains, which can run without a second member of staff on board, would worsen the experience of travelling by train for disabled passengers.
In train stations, WinVisible women see a lot of mothers with small babies or with several young children, older people, and other passengers including tourists whose first language is not English, who like us, may need help, guidance or physical assistance from staff in person, to use public transport.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said,
“Too often the people who speak for the rail industry are a clique of company directors fixated with their owning group’s share price or civil servants with their eyes on a knighthood. The real voices of the rail industry are in this survey and they paint a chilling picture of the future being forged by Grant Shapps [the government Minister for Transport], the train operating privateers and Network Rail.
What is being called ‘modernisation’ is in reality a brutal drive to cut staff costs that will make Britain’s trains, stations and track less safe and less accessible to travel on and it’s being driven by a government that’s only thinking about the interests of the super-rich profiteers”.
Read more here about the Transport for All campaign and the facts about disabled people’s disadvantage and barriers to travel.
Bus design is also bad. WinVisible is a women’s organisation and includes disabled mums. We have often raised that wheelchair users should not be made to compete with mums with buggies for the space. We don’t want to be pitted against each other. Also, the bad design means that two wheelchair users can’t travel together on the same bus.
Coping with disability and caring for children are both hard work, made harder by lack of access and poverty inflicted on mothers, other family carers and disabled people.
It’s more obvious than ever that free, fully accessible, clean, public transport is urgently needed for the climate, pollution and cost of living emergencies.