During Women & Equalities Questions, Polegate MP Maria Caulfield has asked what measures are being taken against rail companies who fail to use on board visual and auditory displays for disabled rail passengers.
It follows concerns that disabled rail users are often left in the dark when train services are cancelled, delayed, or altered with little notice.
Responding, Transport Minister Andrew Jones said that although 70% of the fleet on the main line already have an audio-visual system fitted, all trains must have an audio visual system in place by the 1 January 2020.
Maria then asked what is being done to encourage rail staff to make announcements to help their visually impaired passengers, when audio visual systems are either not in place, or as in a large number of cases, aren’t working.
Answering, the Transport Minister confirmed that meeting the needs of visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing people was a condition of the operators’ passengers licence, including in instances of delay or disruption.
Speaking afterwards, the Ms Caulfield said, “The current level of disruption to rail services is having a major impact upon passengers across my constituency, impacting upon their lives, and the lives of their families. This disruption is felt even more harshly by passengers that are visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, and I therefore felt it necessary to ask how their needs are being met.
“I welcome the Government’s response, however, will continue to lobby the Department for Transport to ensure that operators are meeting the requirements of their passenger licence.”