RMT Press Office:
EHRC expresses concerns over changes to rail services impacting on disabled passengers.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has expressed concerns over changes to rail services that could impact on the disabled and vulnerable.
Responding to a letter signed by dozens of MPs and peers, highlighting the impact of ticket closures and Driver Only Operation (DOO) on vulnerable passengers, the EHRC said:
“We know that, for many people, public transport provides an essential and sometimes the only means of getting to school or work.
“It is a critical gateway to opportunity and an important component of the Government’s own levelling up strategies.
“We therefore share your concerns that changes to how some rail services operate are making rail travel more inaccessible.
“We have received a number of reports about changes in staffing arrangements at stations and on trains, and allegations that operators are unable to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled travellers, as required by the Equality Act 2010. This includes rail services that are under contractual obligation via a National Rail contract with the Secretary of State for Transport.”
The EHRC has also not ruled out using its enforcement powers and taking legal action to ensure rail services remain accessible to all.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We welcome the comments from the EHRC, and they reflect the equalities issues raised by RMT since the prospect of ticket office closures and DOO was raised.
“Accessibility is a key component of railways and vulnerable groups such as the disabled must be at the forefront of ministers minds when making changes to the network.
“RMT is committed to campaigning for disabled passengers and ensuring good terms and conditions for its members.”