Tory Cuts Are Forcing Disabled People Like Me To Wait 200 Years For Access To Transport

05/08/2017 07:39 BST | Updated 05/08/2017 07:39 BST
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Analysis today shows that at as a result of Tory cuts, disabled people will have to wait 201 years for train stations across the country to be made accessible.

Although the government said they were "committed to ensuring that disabled people have equal access to transport services and opportunities to travel", they have cut 42% of the funding for the Access for All scheme to make stations accessible.

As a disabled person who relies on public transport, my life has been put on hold by these cuts.

I have mobility issues due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia (RA Fibro) and Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and I use a mobility scooter and tri rollator walker. I live in Zone 6 of greater London on the Southeastern Kent coast line.

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. 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.

Labour analysis shows it would take over 200 years, or until 2218, at the government's current rate, for all the train stations to be made accessible, with step free access to and between all platforms.

We cannot afford to wait for access stations. I need rail access now, with step-free, staffed stations and ticket offices. It clearly will not become a reality under this government.

This is just the latest attack on disabled people from a government that has forced us and other disadvantaged groups to bear the brunt of their devastating cuts, while giving tax giveaways to corporations and the most privileged.

For the Conservatives disabled people seem to be an inconvenience, the vital support that we rely on unimportant, and our right to live fulfilling lives irrelevant.

I am a human being. I have rights. I want to be have the freedom to ride like non-disabled people and to live my life to the full by travelling unimpeded. But I won't have that luxury until we have accessible public transport.

Under the Conservatives' plans disabled people will be waiting two centuries. We cannot wait that long. We need equal rights and equal access now.

Paula Peters is a disability rights activist with Disabled People Against Cuts and Unite Community