Transport Transition Plans – Operator Guide for Assisting Passengers with Disabilities

Europe, Transportation, June 12 2020

SCOTLAND: The Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) has published guidance for transport operators to ensure that changes to public transport services during Covid-19 take into account disabled people’s needs. The guidance emphasises that the 2010 Equality Act continues to apply and so the impacts on disabled people of any changes must be considered as a result of transport transition plans. “New and replacement concessionary travel permits are not currently being issued; you should allow passengers who do not have an National Entitlement Card but claim entitlement to travel free without one,” it says. Read the complete guidance note.

Transport Transition Plans – guidance to operators on assisting passengers with disabilities:

1. The requirements of the 2010 Equality Act still apply at all times. You must consider the impacts on disabled people of any changes as a result of transport transition plans. ‘Disabled people’ includes people who have difficulty walking, wheelchair users, people with cognitive impairments like dementia, blind and Deaf people.

2. Communication strategies should be inclusive, so that all passengers understand what services are available and any changes that have been made, ideally in advance. For example, if possible, inform passengers if toilets are closed. Use plain English, audio (including speaking!) and visual announcements or displays.

3. It may be necessary and reasonable to give disabled people priority in certain circumstances, for example, having a fast track queue, priority parking or asking some passengers to wait for the next bus or train if space is limited.

4. Priority seats and wheelchair spaces for disabled people, older people or pregnant women should be available for those who need them.

5. New and replacement concessionary travel permits are not currently being issued; you should allow passengers who do not have an NEC card but claim entitlement to travel free without one.

6. Be aware that some people (for example if blind, or with a learning disability) may not understand any unfamiliar layouts or changes to facilitate physical distancing; please be prepared to explain them.

7. Please be aware that Deaf people who lip read will not be able to communicate with staff if a face covering is being worn. Likewise most hearing aids only have a range of 1 metre.

8. Many people have hidden disabilities and/or may already be anxious due to the changes in their routines and travel plans. Please be considerate and be prepared to offer assistance if it may be needed.

9. When providing personal assistance (for example with ramps or guiding visually impaired people), listen to your passengers about any help they 2 need – they are the expert in their own personal needs! Some passengers may have a ‘Thistle Card’ or similar which describes any help they need.

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