This briefing supports amendments which seek to improve the accessibility of public transport for disabled people. Disabled people’s ability to participate in hugely important aspects of life that most of us take for granted, such as work, education and social life, can be dependent on their ability to use public transport. These issues are, therefore, of the utmost importance.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) sets out what human rights mean specifically for disabled people. By ratifying CRPD in 2009, the UK took on binding obligations under international law to ensure that disabled people enjoy those rights in practice. ‘Accessibility’ is a General Principle in the Convention, and Article 9 requires the government to take appropriate measures to ensure that disabled people have access to transport on an equal basis with others.
A recent court case has highlighted a lack of clarity in the rules regulating the use of spaces on public buses which are provided for wheelchair users. The Bus Services Bill presents an opportunity to clarify that a wheelchair user has priority use of the designated space.
The extent to which buses are accessible to disabled people will depend to a large extent on bus drivers’ awareness of disabled people’s rights and how to fulfil them. Article 9 CRPD states that appropriate measures should be taken to ‘provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities’.
Last updated: 09 Jan 2017