Labour Says It Will Take 200 Years To Make Train Stations Disability-Friendly

Less than 20% of 2,500 have step-free access.
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It would take more than 200 years for all train stations to be made accessible for disabled people, according to new analysis by Labour.

Official figures show just 493 stations out of 2,557 around the UK - less than 20% - have step-free access to all platforms.

Despite claims by the government that it is “committed to ensuring that disabled people have equal access to transport services and opportunities to travel”, the number of fully accessible stations has increased by just 2% over the last four years - meaning it would take until 2218 for all stations to be brought up to the same standard.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “As the country which pioneered the railways, we shouldn’t have to wait two centuries for it to become accessible.

“The Tories promised to improve accessibility for disabled people, while cutting the funding needed to make this happen.”

He said Labour has pledged £50 million to reverse cuts to the government’s Access For All scheme, which funds improvement works to stations and has seen its budget slashed by 42%.

<strong>Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald.</strong>
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald.
PA Archive/PA Images

“Even government research recognises these schemes are high value for money,” he added.

“No-one should be prevented from using public transport because of their disability, but thousands currently are. The government must act now to ensure equal access to transport.”

Blogging for HuffPost UK, disability rights campaigner Paula Peters said her life had been placed on a hold as a direct result of difficulties accessing public transport.

“Both of my nearest train stations were due for the installation of lifts to make both stations accessible for disabled and older adults and parents with pram passengers,” she said.

“But due to the Conservatives’ cuts these urgent improvements have been delayed for five years.

“I can’t afford to wait five years without access to transport, but I’m apparently one of the lucky ones. For disabled people across the country, these improvements may not come during their lifetimes.”