Disabled Access To Public Transport Needs Urgent Review

‘Worrying’ Survey Suggests Barriers Prevent Access to Employment and Healthcare


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Specialist serious injury lawyers from national law firm Irwin Mitchell have called for an urgent review into accessibility on public transport after a survey from disabled charity Whizz-Kidz revealed that two in three wheelchair users don’t use buses or trains due a range of ‘worrying’ issues.

Many of the 128 seven to 24 year-olds surveyed felt the lack of access prevents them from  visiting health and education services and having access to job opportunities

Irwin Mitchell work in partnership with Whizz-Kidz and one of their patrons, Hannah Cockroft MBE, stars in Irwin Mitchell’s  ‘Don’t Quit Do it’ campaign which aims to increase the number of people with disabilities who participate in sport.

Hannah said: “During the 2012 Paralympic Games, access and travel for wheelchair users was greatly improved and I had so many messages from people saying they could get to the stadium and venues on their own.”

Public transport accessibility issues are one of the key barriers to sport and the triple World Champion now feels people have lost confidence and that “things have gone backwards”.

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

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

Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell work with people on a daily basis who have serious disabilities and help them regain their independence through access to vital services. Public Law solicitor Mathieu Culverhouse has seen the impact caused by a lack of transport provisions and believes improvements should be a seen as a priority.

Expert Opinion
“The results of the survey are worrying and the Government should take these findings seriously and review accessibility on public transport as a matter of urgency.

“Overcoming a serious disability takes coverage, conviction and belief but without the public transport provisions in place to offer people support they are unlikely to have any confidence in using these services.

“Buses, trains and trams should be inclusive and the correct facilities should always be in place so people with a disability can independently access employment, health and education services.

“It is disappointing to see the report suggest that services in London are better equipped and more reliable as this should be a basic requirement for the whole of the country.

“Early this year we successfully overturned a decision by Salford City Council to withdraw vital transport services which would have had a huge impact on disabled adults in the community.

“Unless the Government act quickly there is a danger of people suffering from social isolation due to accessibility issues and that is simply unacceptable.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, Associate

This summer Irwin Mitchell launched an Access All Areas campaign to review disability access to music festivals and gigs to look at all aspects of the experience for music fans that require specialist support to attend such events. You can read more about the campaign here.