Getting There: UK Transport in 2019

The affect of inaccessible transport is wide-ranging – even to the extent employees have not applied for promotion or had to change their job due to the travel element of the role.

Transport is how we get to where we need to be – whether that’s getting to work, travelling to meetings or between sites, going to meet friends, going on holiday, or accessing education and healthcare. So how far is public transport in the UK currently working for disabled people, and how much are disabled people prevented from going places?

Callers to our Advice Service continue to tell us that their employees experience difficulties with getting to work, and people who were previously awarded transport related support through Access to Work are being told they are no longer eligible and can no longer receive it.

As more organisations become multi-sited or relocate, travel related difficulties have increased; some employees and employers even tell us that this has prevented people from being, or applying to be, promoted into a role where travel is an essential element of the role. It is therefore no surprise that we often hear travel and transport related stresses and difficulties are one of the most common reasons employees working from home.

During Spring-Summer 2019, we have been asking people for their views on accessing transport and travelling by train, tube, plane, tram, bus, taxi, and coach, as well as their experiences of Blue Badge parking. A huge 236 people got in touch. This is what they told us.

How accessible is transport in the UK in 2019?

  • Three in 10 people have been refused entry into or not been able to get in a taxi, or on a bus, tram, or coach because of their disability.
  • 51 per cent were not aware of Priority Seat Cards for train journeys at all, but 46 per cent said they would not want to use one.
  • 62 per cent say tube stations are generally inaccessible to them, and 29 per cent said the same of train stations.
  • Only 22 per cent of Blue Badge holders always find an accessible parking space when they need it.
  • Nine per cent of respondents said they generally find transport difficult to access and navigate – even though they do not consider themselves to have a disability.

How does inaccessible transport affect disabled people’s lives?

  • 44 per cent said they have been prevented from taking part in leisure activities (such as going to the cinema, theme park, or exhibition) due to inaccessible transport
  • 38 per cent said they couldn’t go shopping
  • 34 per cent said they have been prevented from getting to work
  • 33 per cent said they have been prevented from going on holiday
  • 25 per cent said they actually find it hard to get to the place that helps them manage their condition or get treatment (such as getting to the GP or to the hospital).

What does this mean?

Inaccessible transport is affecting how much disabled people can be economically active and spend money on leisure and tourism. Transport is literally the vehicle by which people can get places to spend their reported £212 billion collective income with UK businesses.

The nine per cent who do not consider themselves to have a disability also teach us something. ‘Assistance’ related services that are labelled with words or imagery related to “disability”, being “disabled”, “special assistance”, or “adjustments” is not resonating with people who are struggling to use public transport.

For more details, email policy@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk and follow the debate on Twitter at #BDFGettingThere