I was interested to learn about the work being done on accessibility and inclusion in rail, hosted by the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail at a recent event in Parliament.
The event showcased the work the rail industry is doing to change and improve the network to make it more accessible. This includes enabling disabled people to make more discounted journeys with the Disabled Persons Railcard.
The Disabled Persons Railcard offers a third off adult rail fares at any time on the National Rail network for people with a disability, plus a companion. On average, passengers with the Disabled Persons Railcard save £108 a year, even after the £20 cost of the card is factored in.
The rise in accessible journeys reflects the work rail companies are doing to make services more accessible. The industry recently launched a new interactive ‘Access Map’ to make it easier for passengers to find out at a glance how accessible their local station is. The industry is also working together to improve passenger assistance bookings, with new technology currently being rolled out for staff and a customer app launching next summer to make bookings easier.
Since 2006, the rail industry has delivered £500million of improvements at stations including making them more accessible, with £300 million of additional funding from government to make 73 more stations accessible by 2024.
Everyone should have the opportunity to travel by train. The rail industry is working to improve accessibility across the country and make the railway easier for everyone to use. We have successfully won investment for step free access at Stowmarket Station and continue to campaign for access improvements at Needham Market Station.
I hope more people will benefit from both the savings that can be made from using the Disabled Persons Railcard, as well as the access improvements locally and across the rail network.