Published Tuesday, 14 September 2021
A new Transport Charter designed to improve and aid the experience of people with disabilities using public transport in the city is being launched (23rd September).
The Disability Equality Action Partnership (DEAP) constituted by the Council, is made up of the Council and disability organisations, universities, schools and colleges and individuals with disabilities.
The new Transport Charter outlines commitments including: promoting the public transport system as fully inclusive for people of all abilities; ensuring better implementation of priority seating policies; advertising more widely the availability of permit provision for scooters on public transport; supporting the expansion in electric bus capacity and allocation to more bus routes in polluted areas of the city; and continuing a dialogue with train companies to improve accessibility for wheelchair passengers.
The initiative is for regional partners and transport operators to acknowledge how they currently support disabled people of all ages with both visible and non-visible disabilities, and how they can assist even further.
The aim is not only to improve awareness among transport operators of the difficulties faced by disabled users, but to also reinforce the message that they are fully committed to putting in any measures that are both practical and possible to improve access, freedom and inclusion to the public transport service. While it is not a compulsory measure for providers to comply with the charter, many recognise that their actions are advantageous to their business in attracting more disabled customers using public transport with confidence.
Chair of the Disability Equality Action Partnership (DEAP) and Transport Charter lead, Cllr Christine Thomas said: “This builds on the success of the Shoppers Charter back in 2019 in making our city a disability-friendly place. It also goes towards forming part of the Wellbeing for Life ethos and City of Culture 2021”.
“It is important that transport operators, regional partners and local people understand the value of the ‘purple pound £’, and equally important that disabled persons feel included in the planning of our city.
“By working together we can deliver a fully accessible public transport service that people with disabilities and additional requirements can use with confidence.”
The Transport Charter came about in response to feedback gathered from a variety of groups, organisations and individuals with disabilities, stating more needed to be done to ensure the freedom and inclusion of all persons with disability across the city.
Leader of Coventry City Council, Cllr George Duggins said: “Peoples with disabilities have been among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are committed as a council to ensure that the quality of life for these members of our community improves. Part of this commitment is working to break down and remove existing barriers and obstacles that many people with disabilities continue to face such as using public transport.
“I fully support the work of the Disability Equality Action Partnership (DEAP) in making our city a more inclusive place to live.”
Cabinet Member for City Services, Cllr Patricia Hetherton said: “This Transport Charter is great news for Coventry and includes commitments around electric buses which will make a major dent in addressing air pollution. This will sit alongside our range of schemes to improve air quality and this will significantly improve the life for those people with disabilities who suffer as a result of air pollution.
“We already have excellent partnership working with bus companies like National Express Coventry and together we have been striving to make our public transport network, greener and cleaner and more accessible for all.”
A scaled-up version of the charter will be on display in the Council House for elected members from all parties to sign up to in recognition and commitment.
A special video featuring Councillor Christine Thomas, chair of the Disability Equality Action Partnership (DEAP) is also available on the Coventry City Council YouTube channel and social media pages, demonstrating good practice when using public transport in the city centre from the perspective of a mobility scooter user.