14 Nov 2018, 12.45

The Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport has called on the Government to make equal access to public transportation for people with disabilities a core policy goal backed by better funding and planning.

The Committee issued its call today as it published Accessibility of Public Transport for People with Disabilities, an 84-page report detailing ways to make Ireland’s bus and passenger rail services equally accessible to all.

“Witnesses with disabilities shared their deeply moving accounts of the difficulties encountered as they use public transport. Too often in Ireland today, they experience disadvantage, exclusion and unequal treatment,” said Committee Chairman Fergus O’Dowd TD.

“The recommendations contained in this report pave the way towards a fully accessible public transport system, whereby all citizens of the State have access to this vital and necessary resource on an equal basis,” Deputy O’Dowd said.

Key recommendations include the need to

  • Ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are central to public transport planning, funding and development.
  • Provide passenger information in accessible formats, both visual and audible, at all stages of a journey, including on cancellations, interruptions and delays.
  • Confirm that emergency procedures provide accessible evacuation routes and alarms that sound in multiple frequencies and are accompanied by flashing lights.
  • Provide taxi tokens or an alternative in areas with no public transport option.
  • Make accessibility services and facilities available without prior booking.

The report makes several proposals to improve bus services including

  • Buses should stop immediately beside kerbs at stops.
  • Drivers should ensure passengers are seated or otherwise in a safe position before leaving stops.
  • Drivers should clearly state the route number and destination as passengers board, and also declare the arrival of each stop if no automated announcement is available.

The report highlights several matters of particular concern for rail users, among them

  • Ramps, lifts and emergency call buttons should be provided and functional in all stations.
  • The unstaffing of some stations should be reviewed.

Deputy O’Dowd said the Committee would welcome progress reports every six months from the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport on each recommendation. “This would ensure that accountability is embedded into the core functioning of our public transport system,” he said.

Read the full report here.

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Committee membership

Deputies

Solidarity - People Before Profit

Sinn Féin

Social Democrats

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil

Senators

Fine Gael

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil