Blueprint to ease travel for disabled Scots launched by Humza Yousaf

Scotland's first blueprint for making travel easier for disabled passengers was launched today by transport minister Humza Yousaf.

A guide dog being trained to help disabled passengers use Edinburgh Trams. Picture: Edinburgh Trams

The Accessible Travel Framework includes improving staff attitudes to disabled people and ensuring they are looked after during disruption.

Information about the layout of buses to make them easier to use will be publicised, and disabled travellers encouraged to help influence transport planning.

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More than 100,000 Scots are estimated to have difficulties getting to railway stations and bus stops, and boarding and alighting from trains and buses.

Such problems pose the second biggest barrier to disabled people getting work after lack of job opportunities.

The ten-year plan was drawn up with disability groups and transport operators.

Mr Yousaf, who launched the document in Edinburgh, said: “It’s important for us to confirm the commitment to making it easier for those with a disability to travel.

“The actions in this new framework will help achieve this.

“There’s already a lot going on to make travel in Scotland more accessible for disabled people – such as our commitment to concessionary travel, and ensuring accessibility in the design and operation of our rail and ferry franchises – and this framework will build on that good work.

“One of the big things disabled people have said is that they don’t want just to be consulted as an afterthought about accessibility on transport.

“This framework has been developed both for and with disabled people, meaning we’ve put disabled people’s ideas and views at the heart of the process.”

Former Scottish Accessible Travel Alliance (SATA) secretary Alan Rees said: "Although it is an excellent statement of intent, like other plans, it will be judged by its delivery.

"In this, the ongoing part to be played by central, local and regional government bodies, transport operators and user-led organisations needs to be active and sustained.

"It also needs to identify where extra resources are needed - and on this the document says nothing.

"One very positive outcome already is the setting up of an "accessible transport hub" - - which will draw together up-to-date information about all aspects of transport accessibility so everyone can learn from good practice, make connections and share their work.

"It will include the web guide 'Place to Place', which I developed for SATA."

Guide Dogs Scotland policy manager Jane Horsburgh said: “We know only too well how much independence can be limited for sight-impaired people by ineffective decisions, designs and processes.

“The best-made decisions are where disabled people are at the core of that complete process."