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Trains are one of the best ways to travel in the UK and can bring many advantages over other methods, such as speed, convenience, reliability, comfort and sustainability. Despite this, there are many people in the disabled community that do not use the train because it is not the most accessible form of travel.
This is problematic because accessible travel is so important yet it can be challenging for those with a wide range of disabilities because most forms of public transportation are not as accessible as they should be. So, what can be done to make trains more accessible? Read on to find out.
Make Train Stations Accessible
The main area that needs addressing is not the trains themselves but the train stations with more than 40% of UK stations not being accessible to physically disabled people. Train stations can be complex and hard to navigate because you need to be able to reach different platforms which will involve getting up, across and down which poses a big problem for those with disabilities, plus they can also be busy and chaotic which only makes it harder.
This is why all train stations need to look to make their platforms more accessible whether this includes using elevators, ramps, wheelchair friendly bridges or any other solution.
Wivelsfield Leading the Way
There are some stations that are taking action to make their platforms more accessible, such as Wivelsfield station which is performing a refurb costing £1 million. This will see the station benefit from step-free access improvements with the use of a lift that can make it easy for an individual in a wheelchair to access the station, platforms and the street without having to navigate stairs.
Staff & Online Bookings
In addition to creating step-free access, train stations also need to make sure that there are always staff on hand that can help those that need it to get to the platform and on to the train. In addition to the physical challenges, many people with disabilities find it stressful and can get nervous when trying to use public transport but this can be alleviated when there are people there to help.
It is also helpful if people are able to prebook their tickets online, such as a train travelling to Bexhill, so that they do not have to do this at the station which can add more stress and take time.
A lot of work needs to be done to make train travel more accessible for all, especially when travel can be so challenging and stressful for the disabled community.