Saturday 16 June 2012

Right to Ride – National day of action around lack of accessible transport

Copied from DPAC

In London DPAC and Transport for All will be holding a day of action around transport on 19th June.

We hope others will organise similar protests that day wherever they live as we’d like to highlight the problems nationally.

We will be trying to highlight the failings of the transport system as is and saying it wont be fit for purpose in the future when hundreds of thousands more people lose their benefits, and maybe also their right to passported services like motability cars, taxicards, blue badges etc and therefore are forced to use public transport.

Ian Duncan Smith is stripping people of their essential benefits and at the same time saying we should work. We want to highlight how difficult it is for disabled people to get to work using public transport. We want to show why DLA is still essential to disabled people.

We will be asking activists to attend a lobby at the House of Commons in the afternoon at 2pm in Committee Room 21, Upper corridor Houses of Parliament and then travel by bus to the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the umbrella body for all European bus companies in Covent Gardenarea.

As it takes a while to get through security and be taken to the committee rooms we suggest people should arrive around 1.30pm if possible.

To cause maximum but legal chaos we need as many wheelchair users, visually impaired, deaf and other disabled people to all need to use the same buses at the same time. We welcome support from non-disabled people for this as well. We will be starting to travel from a bus stop where we know bus ramps will not go down to let wheelchair users onto the buses.

We would like you to invite your MPs to the lobby and ask them to travel with us on the short ride to experience first hand the issues facing disabled passengers every day. The press will also be invited to attend with us.

However we also know many of you will not want to lobby your MP or go to House of Commons so if you prefer just to help us bring one of London’s bus routes to a grinding halt simply by getting on and off the buses along a specific route then please met us at 4pm either outside House of Parliament visitor entrance or at Abingdon Street bus stop, next to Victoria Tower and more or less opposite College Green.

We have invited Maria Miller and Iain Duncan-Smith to join us but so far they have not replied to our request.

 

Template letter for MPs.

Dear [insert name of MP]

On 19th June at 4pm, I’m joining Transport for All and Disabled People Against Cuts for an action to highlight the barriers that older and disabled people face using public transport. I’d like to invite you to join me on a short bus journey (half an hour) from outside Parliament, to hear and see firsthand some of the problems that disabled people face when travelling.

{insert some of your experiences about using transport here}

I have a number of concerns about the accessibility of public transport. As you will know, the Government is expecting that 500,000 people will lose their DLA (Disability Living Allowance) from 2013. Disability Living Allowance is, for many people, the passport to a Motability car or door-to-door services like Taxicard that allow people to get out and about, even when the local public transport is not easily accessible.

If the proposed reduction to the number of people set to lose DLA eligibility goes ahead, thousands of disabled people will be left dependent on a bus and train system which, despite some important improvements, remains difficult or impossible to use for many older and disabled people.

So this is a crucial time to ensure that accessibility is put at the heart of theUK’s transport system.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of disabled people say they have had to turn down a job because of inaccessible transport (Mind the Gap, Campion et all, 2003). At a time when millions of pounds are being spent on schemes to get disabled people into work, it’s scandalous that foot-dragging by transport providers means that thousands of disabled people are missing out on jobs.

As a supporter of the Right to Ride campaign, I believe that when bus and train routes are tendered, there must be clear accessibility demands written into the contract.

I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and talk about my concerns, and to explain how Government procurement processes could ensure that older and disabled people are able to travel with the same freedom and independence as everyone else. I look forward to hearing from you to arrange this.

Yours sincerely

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