124 railway stations across Great Britain will receive a total of 20 million GBP (23.7 million euros | 25.9 million USD) in funding to improve accessibility.
Accessibility measures include new lifts, accessible toilets and customer information screens. This funding announcement comes after the launch of a new campaign to improve public transport journeys for disabled passengers. The funding comes through the Access for All programme.
“The ability to travel easily from A to B is an essential factor for our day to day lives - but is not the reality for everyone.
“I recognise that we have much more to do, which is why we’re making 124 train stations across the country more accessible – a key part of levelling-up access for disabled people to transport and opening up opportunities for all.
“This is just the start of a much more ambitious agenda. My goal is to go much further in the years ahead to help ensure that our country’s transport system becomes one of the most accessible in the world.”
The Access for All programme launched in 2006. Since then it has made more than 200 stations step-free. It has further enabled smaller-scale accessibility improvements at more than 1,500 additional stations.
The 20 million GBP funding is part of a 300 million GBP (355 million euros | 388 million USD) package announced last year by the British government.
The Welsh government, however, is disappointed with where the funding is going. Of the 124 stations only 4 in Wales (and 1 in Scotland) will benefit from these funds. As a result the Welsh government says it is looking into alternative funding arrangements for the stations that have not been selected.
“It is disappointing that the UK Government has decided to invest in just 4 of the 7 projects we had promoted and offered to match fund.
“I have therefore asked Transport for Wales and rail industry partners to urgently consider the scope for using the matched funding commitment we offered to progress step free access at the excluded stations, under our own direct investment. This is because of the U.K. Government’s failure to deliver the investment they are responsible for.
“Stations with strong community support for step free upgrades have been excluded from funding. Unfortunately it is another example where passengers are set feel the effect of the UK Government’s continuing underinvestment in Welsh railways.
“Meanwhile, I am pleased that work will go ahead at the four successful stations.”
The three Welsh stations that didn’t get the nod were Ruabon, Haverfordwest and Whitchurch. A further 30 stations that the Welsh government endorsed for additional accessibility improvements were declined by the UK government.
A full list of the stations approved for funding can be found here.
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