Some trains not on track

Part 12 of the Equality Act 2010 relates to transport including taxis, rail vehicles and buses. S182(6) states:

“The Secretary of State must exercise the power to make rail vehicles accessibility regulations so as to secure that on and after 1 January 2020 every rail vehicle is a regulated rail vehicle.”

However, despite the number of years rail operatives have had, accessibility improvements remain outstanding. In a letter from Chris Heaton Harris, Minister of State for Transport, to the Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, the Minister records his frustration that disabled persons are still waiting for fully accessible services. However, in view of the fact that the withdrawal of non-accessible vehicles would cause delays throughout the railway network, he granted a limited dispensation for around 1,200 carriages subject to two major conditions:

“1. That operators are required to provide evidence that the introduction of new or refurbished vehicles remains on track.

2. Operators understand they are legally bound to deliver the commitments they made to providing information, journey planning assistance, mobility assistance and operational mitigations such as coupling non-compliant vehicles to compliant ones, where possible.”

Additionally, in relation to any rail replacement bus and coach services, the Minister was only willing to grant dispensation to transport operatives (‘TOCs’) for a one month period i.e. until 31 January, 2020. He said:

“During this time, I expect TOCs to do all they can to source compliant vehicles before considering using non-compliant ones. Where non-compliant vehicles are used, TOCs must provide passengers who require it with accessible alternative transport, such as taxis.”

We wait to see how long it is before a fully accessible transport system is provided.

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