Mayor helps launch UK taskforce for more inclusive transport
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were in at the start of a new initiative to help shape more inclusive travel in the UK when the Mayor spoke at the launch of a taskforce, chaired by sports legend and disability champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
It is the latest push by the Combined Authority to help make transport more inclusive. In July, the Mayor hosted a Cambridgeshire accessibility ‘round table’ in the run-up to Better Transport Week, of which the Combined Authority is a key partner.
The Mayor invited disability campaigners to discuss challenges and obstacles to inclusivity in getting about, and to focus on ways in which public transport, walking, wheelchair and cycling routes can be made both more usable and more user-friendly for everyone they are intended to serve.
The new Accessible Transport Policy Commission launched this week is a cross-party Parliamentary forum of MPs and peers dedicated to eliminating barriers to transport. Under chair Baroness Grey-Thompson, the Commission will pull together disabled people and transport professionals with policymakers to forge a new and more inclusive future for the transport system.
At the launch, the Mayor spoke in a distinguished line-up, including transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton; Clive Gilbert, Head of Accessible Transport at Policy Connect, the Commission’s Secretariat; Kamran Mallick, Disability Rights UK; and Claire Walters from Bus Users UK; and Paul Herriotts from Coventry University.
Clive Gilbert, Head of Accessible Transport at Policy Connect:
“We were delighted that the Mayor Dr Nik Johnson joined us for the launch of the Accessible Transport Policy Commission. Poor access to transport means that millions of disabled people face barriers to education, the workplace, healthcare services and even enjoying a social life – and huge costs to themselves and society. Local government will have a vital role in achieving change. That’s why we are pleased to have the Mayor on board at the very start of the Commission’s work to make transport accessible for disabled people across the UK”.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson:
“Public transport is a physical manifestation of freedom and opportunity and must be inclusive for everyone. We in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough will work tirelessly for fair and equal access to transport for all. No-one should be excluded, denied or deprived access to transport.
“As I’ve said before, if public transport isn’t accessible for everyone, then it’s not really public. Noone should be excluded by inadequate design, and this commission, which I’m proud to support, represents huge progress in the campaign to make the inaccessible unacceptable.”
The Combined Authority’s commitment to accessibility in transport is ongoing. At the summer roundtable, accessibility champions joined the Mayor to help shape the Combined Authority’s work for inclusive transport that matches the needs and aspirations of people of every age and ability.
The Mayor brought together local experts and advocates to map out with the Combined Authority’s transport team how an inclusive public transport network for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough should evolve.
Among the groups invited were the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Camsight, Cambridge Dial-a-Ride, Healthwatch and the Papworth Trust.
The virtual event gave delegates the chance to hear first-hand the Combined Authority’s accessibility ambitions, and most importantly, to feed in their own personal experience and professional insights into how all modes of transport can be integrated and work for each traveller.
- Delegates spoke about how buses can be difficult to use by people with visual impairments because they cannot see where the stops are.
- ‘Talking buses’ which announce stops were suggested as a solution – and talking bus stops that report what bus has arrived.
- Dangers of combined walking and cycle routes
- Better lighting at bus stops to make people feel safe – especially women late at night
- Wheelchair spaces on buses aren’t big enough for modern wheelchairs to turn in – and often a wheelchair user gets on the bus only to realise there is already someone using the space.