Like the Government, I want disabled people to travel easily, confidently and at no additional cost and I am encouraged by the range of measures that are being taken, across all forms of transport, to support this desire.
In 2018, the previous Government published the Inclusive Transport Strategy and I know the current government is committed to its implementation. The overall goal of the strategy is to create a transport system that offers equal access for disabled passengers by 2030, with assistance if physical infrastructure remains a barrier. The Strategy covers all modes of transport and includes over 90 individual commitments in total.
I share the Government's belief that it is essential that the lack of knowledge of passenger rights is addressed and I am glad the Strategy commits to taking clear steps to raise awareness. This involves working to ensure that all passengers know what service they can expect and have the assurance that reporting non-compliance will lead to enforcement action. Providing timely and high quality assistance services to disabled travellers, including those with less visible disabilities, is vital to ensure disabled people can travel with confidence.
I am encouraged that good progress has been made in this area. For example, the revised Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP), now known as the Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) guidance, was published on in July 2019 and included enhanced requirements on all operators to deliver an accessible travel policy. The Office for Road and Rail has approved several of the ATPs submitted by train operators and these are available to view via both train operators and the ORR website.
More broadly, I welcome the new National Disability Strategy, published over the summer, which aims to provide more accessible housing, easier commuting and better job prospects for millions of disabled people in the UK. The strategy marks the first cross-government endeavour to improve disabled people’s everyday lives with legislation, policy and funding from across all corners of Government.
I was very interested to hear about Scope's suggestion for a Passenger Charter and, while I am unaware of current plans to implement this, I would be very happy to raise the suggestion with ministerial colleagues. Ultimately, I believe that the Government's Inclusive Transport Strategy will adequately make provisions for improving awareness of rights for disabled passengers. Indeed, we have seen this already. I look forward to seeing future progress and improvements in due course.