Work to improve disabled toilets on trains is underway

Improvements are set to be made to disabled toilets on trains and in stations after a Paralympian highlighted an issue with accessibility.

The rail minister, Paul Maynard, met with senior executives to discuss making improvements to access of disabled toilets after Paralympian, Anne Wufula, was left unable to get to the toilet in time.

The plans will include providing clearer information regarding the availability of accessible toilets in advance of journeys.

The Department of Transport (DfT) will also be working with train companies to see how staff training can be improved.

When the facilities are out of order, it has been advised that passengers are informed before the train departs.

Maintenance teams will also ensure they are more reliable and fix them more quickly when there are issues to ensure that fewer toilets are out of service.

Rail minister, Paul Maynard, commented: “I take the issue of accessibility on our railways extremely seriously and these commitments from industry are just one step forward to improve things.

“It is vital that all people, including disabled passengers, are able to use public transport and I will continue to push train companies on this matter.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail, added: “The rail industry wants to modernise what is often Victorian infrastructure to make it more accessible and to provide far better information to enable people with disabilities to travel with confidence.

“When things go wrong, rail companies want to put them right, and we are keen to hear directly from people with disabilities to understand their experiences, which is why the industry is already engaging more with disability groups to understand how we can improve.”

Since 1999, it has been a requirement that all new trains with toilets are built with accessible toilets and all build before then must adhere to this by 2020.

Over 150 stations have been upgraded under the Access for All programme in order to allow people to travel independently. This includes the installation of signs, ramps and lifts, and a further 68 stations are in construction or development stages.

The Department for Transport will publish its ‘Accessibility action plan’ later this year, which will address accessibility across all modes of public transport.

In addition, Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad will be holding talks on access to air travel for disabled passengers.

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