Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government to increase the funding allocated to making our public transport system fully accessible for people with disabilities.
Speaking today from the biennial conference of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), the Meath East TD said:
“People with a disability or reduced mobility continue to face significant barriers when using public transport, such as broken lifts in train stations, limited wheelchair spaces on buses and having to give 24-hour notice to put a ramp in place.
“This highlights the challenges people in wheelchairs continue to face on a daily basis while using public transport.
“Progress is being made, but it is far too slow. We welcome that new buses and train carriages will be wheelchair accessible, but access to stations, platforms and bus stops falls very far short, and travelling on the older public transport fleet remains problematic.
“Information we have received from the NTA shows an investment of €137.6m is needed to make all train stations, bus stations and bus stops wheelchair accessible.
“Unfortunately, the budget for the Public Transport Accessibility Retrofit Programme this year is just €15.35m, highlighting the significant gap between committed funding and what is actually required.
“In our recent Alternative Budget, Sinn Féin proposed an 82% increase in funding for the Public Transport Accessibility Retrofit Programme, which over a five-year period, would fund all the works needed to make our public transport system fully wheelchair accessible.
“Accessible public transport is vital for people with physical disabilities living an independent life.
“Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2018, which includes obligations for making transportation accessible for people with disabilities.
“The government must make accessible public transport for all a priority, and back this up with the funding required.”