Having an accessible Public Transport system is vitally important for people with disabilities to live and commute independently. IWA is constantly in communication with the organisations that manage Public Transport in Ireland as well as participating on many of the disability user groups. These include:
There has been a considerable increase in the number of accessible low floor coaches in the Dublin Bus fleet. At present there is in excess of 60 per cent of the Dublin Bus fleet accessible. This ongoing improvement in accessibility of the fleet is most welcome.
However many of the bus stops on Dublin Bus routes remain inaccessible. In many instances, routes have accessible buses, but these buses still remain inaccessible to wheelchair users because of the non accessibility of bus stops.
While there is an ongoing program of upgrading these bus stops, the rate of progress is disappointingly slow. Out of a total of over 5000 bus stops, only 1200 have currently been upgraded. In 2007, approximately 300 bus stops were upgraded.
One of the principal objectives of IWA advocacy in 2008 is to ensure that the number of bus stops upgraded for accessibility purposes at a rate comparable to the introduction of accessible buses.
IWA is represented on the Dublin Bus Disability Users Group.
In 2008, Bus Eireann is to launch its first ever accessible express way coaches. These coaches which will be equipped with a lift to embark and disembark wheelchair passengers will first be put on the Cork - Waterford route on a trial basis.
Again the major issue with the operation of the lift is to have appropriately designed bus stops. IWA has recently raised this issue with the Department of Transport and stressed the importance of having accessible bus stop infra structure to match the roll out of these accessible coaches. The provision of accessible bus stops for these new coaches will be a major priority for the IWA advocacy team in 2008
IWA are represented on the Bus Eireann Disability Users Group
Over the past few years we have seen considerable progress in the accessibility of train stations and introduction of accessibility features on train carriages. Long awaited new accessible carriages are due to come on stream in 2008. However further improvements are needed. Many stations remain inaccessible due to their reliance on foot bridges as the only means of crossing the railway track. Additionally, train carriages on certain routes continue to have poor levels of accessibility for passengers.
IWA will continue to emphasize the need to continue to upgrade train stations nationwide and for the provision of accessible carriages on all routes.
IWA is represented on the Iarnroid Eireann Disability Users group.
The feedback we receive in relation to passengers with disabilities using the Luas is very positive. In particular the ability for wheelchair passengers to enter and exit the carriages without having to use a ramp or lift is a great development.
IWA was to the fore in highlighting the need to carry out modifications to the entrances/exits to the Luas carriages to accommodate all wheelchairs. These modifications have now all been made. IWA also brought to the attention of Luas management that in the event of an emergency stop that the provision of alternate accessible transport needed to be considered.
IWA will continue to highlight the requirements of passengers with disabilities on all new proposed developments of the Luas network.
IWA is represented on the Luas Disability Users Group.