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Scooter User Boarding Photo 31

news: ITP research helps the rail industry support accessibility for mobility scooter users

ITP's research into the accessibility of rail travel for people using mobility scooters has been published by RSSB.  This has since been accompanied by updated rail industry guidance that ITP prepared in collaboration with RSSB and the project's steering group.  

Key findings from this important study include:

  • The safety risks associated with rail-scooter travel were negligible relative to those for other passengers.
  • Safety risks associated with the use of ramps by passengers travelling with scooters can be mitigated by effective guidance and staff training.
  • Important considerations for GB Train Operating Companies (TOCs) around scooter stowage protocols, since some passengers prefer to transfer to a seat while others choose to travel on their scooter.
  • A wheelchair user does not take precedence over a passenger travelling with a mobility scooter, unless they have pre-booked the on-board wheelchair space for a journey.  The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed their interpretation that both devices can reasonably be interpreted as wheelchairs in the context of The Equality Act (2010).

The study recommended a number of 'quick wins' for the rail industry, which are now being implemented.  During the course of our research, three of the four TOCs that only previously allowed mobility scooters which were folded down and carried on-board as luggage (practically difficult for most scooter users) changed their policies to allow scooters to be ridden-aboard via a ramp.  The fourth is currently in the process of reviewing its policy in light of its new trains delivery programme.

You can find out more about the project here.

Photo credit: Rebecca Hofman (on behalf of RSSB)


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