Transport is vital to people with physical disabilities realising their independence.

When it comes to holding down a job, socialising or going on holidays, just getting there can often be the greatest challenge to overcome.

Former TD Tommy Broughan recently highlighted through research that it would take less than €125 million to make public service buses and trains wheelchair accessible. An accessible environment benefits everyone. 

The Government must:

Taxis

  • Apply extra weighting to taxi operators with accessible vehicles in tender processes when awarding State contracts.
  • Manage the €1m subsidy scheme currently awarded to taxi operators, who purchase accessible vehicles through the National Transport Authority, to increase a nationwide spread of accessible taxis.
  • Set a target that 15% of all taxis should be accessible by 2020. Currently 10% of the fleet is accessible.

Bus Eireann

  • Commit funding for a nationwide network of accessible coach stops to be in place by 2020 alongside ongoing purchase of accessible coaches.

Bus Eireann

  • Commit funding for a nationwide network of accessible coach stops to be in place by 2020 alongside ongoing purchase of accessible coaches.

Irish Rail

  • Ensure staff are available at stations to support people with physical disabilities, provide lifts that work, ensure that ramps are available and that space is allocated in trains for people with physical disabilities.

Many trains and train stations continue to provide significant barriers for commuters with disabilities. There are many unmanned stations around the country, lifts often don’t work, commuters with disabilities are faced with the uncertainty that ramps or space will be available when they arrive at the station even with 24 hours notice, stopping people with disabilities making travel plans spontaneously or in emergency situations.  

Funding is needed to ensure a fully wheelchair accessible rail service that provides for freely-available ramp systems and on-hand staff support to guarantee access to trains and allocated wheelchair spaces.

Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance

  • Reinstate the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance to assist in covering the cost of transport.

The Government withdrew the Motorised Transport Grant and the Mobility Allowance with the promise they would be replaced with a new scheme. People with disabilities are still waiting.

Both of these schemes are vital to people with disabilities at a time when our public transport system and infrastructure are still not fully wheelchair accessible. People with disabilities rely on taxis where possible to get to hospital appointments and their local post office especially in rural areas. The mobility allowance and motorised grant went part of the way to cover these costs or help someone buy their first wheelchair adapted car.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Article 9 on accessibility asserts that “member states enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. State parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications.”