Step Free Access for Rail Users in Bedfordshire Now!
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There are currently five rail stations in Bedfordshire with no step free access for disabled people, these are (including passenger numbers in 2016/7)
- Luton 3,682,794
- Leagrave 1,861,912
- Flitwick 1,518,180
- Biggleswade 1,029,086
- Harlington 330,468
While Luton is earmarked for improvements in 2019/20 there are no plans for step free access at the remaining four stations.
This situation restricts the employment opportunities of disabled people in these communities and puts unnecessary barriers in place which prevent disabled people from taking a full part in our society.
It is ironic that while all train carriages must be accessible by 1st January 2020 the above train stations will remain no go areas for disabled people and those with limited mobility.
The Department of Transport has stated that for every £1 spent on access improvements £2.90 is returned in economic benefits. Therefore not only is it morally the correct action to improve access at these stations, it makes economic sense to do so.
Providing step free access at these stations will also improve accessibility for elderly people and those with young children, encouraging the use of public transport rather than car travel.
We call on Jo Johnson, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, and James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council,to urgently address the rail access inequality which restricts the lives of thousands of people across Bedfordshire and install step free access at Luton, Flitwick, Biggleswade, Leagrave and Harlington stations.
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