New report highlights barriers to accessing transport
This year, SLCs across England conducted a mystery shopping exercise, which saw BPS passengers examine a range of issues across multiple transport providers.
The report combines these issues with responses from face-to-face and online surveys and open-source government data. These identify the key issues BPS people face when accessing the rail and bus networks across England.
A lady approaching a set of stairs with her long cane
Highlights of the report
This report highlights a number of issues recurring across the bus network. These include:
- Highly inaccessible bus stops, both in terms of design and a lack of real-time information. Nearly 30 per cent of people reported the accessibility of the bus stops they used were poor or very poor.
- Passengers still rely on flagging down buses which, when combined with the lack of accessible timetables and irregular services, can lead to missed journeys. Nearly 20 per cent of our mystery shopper respondents reported it was ‘not easy at all’ for them to catch the right bus.
- BPS passengers are still suffering a ‘bus route lottery’ of mixed driver standards.
- The number of audio-visual announcements on buses remains low. Nearly 60 per cent of our mystery shoppers reported no audio-visual announcements on their bus service.
This report highlights a number of issues recurring across the rail network. These include:
- Unmanned stations present BPS passengers with a significant additional accessibility issue. 100 per cent of respondents who used a station without a staffed ticket office reported an issue with their journey as a result.
- Railway station design is largely inaccessible. Poor signage and frequent changes in layout make this significantly worse, with nearly a third of our mystery shopper respondents reported they found the station difficult to navigate.
- Overcrowding on trains causes significant accessibility issues. This includes blocking of access to amenities for passengers and prevention or a delay in staff providing assistance.
- A large number of BPS passengers are unable to access passenger assist. 30 per cent of participants did not use the service because it wasn’t available or they didn’t know it existed.
Thomas Pocklington Trust and Sight Loss Councils will use this report as the evidential basis of a campaign for change amongst transport stakeholders.
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Publication date: 01 November 2023