York Central MP Rachael Maskell has asked the Minister of State for Transport to ensure disabled people have access to the green “access travel pilots” being rolled out across the country.
In a parliamentary question to the Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP, she raised concerns that Government were not doing enough to support disabled people, including those with mobility challenges.
For the last few months, Ms. Maskell has been raising her frustration that disabled people are largely forgotten when it comes to finding solutions to address their transport needs. Not only do these Government pilots not insist on accessible formats of e-transport be made available, be they modern mobility scooters or other products, but many Local Authorities are failing to commission schemes that provide solutions to all residents and visitors.
At a time when City of York Council are locking disabled people out of the city, they are not insisting that their e-scooter provider also provide alternative options for residents. While recognising that this would not be an option for everyone, it would provide a new opportunity for those who struggle with their mobility.
Here in York, Rachael Maskell MP has spoken to Tier, the provider of York’s e-scooter pilot about this matter, but they are not close to providing an accessible product. She believes that no-one should be denied the opportunity to enjoy the freedom accessible transport can provide. She herself, someone who only walks or cycles in York, knows the enjoyment that this brings, and believes all should have the opportunity to enjoy such freedom. She was inspired by a TED Talk by Copenhagen’s Ole Kassow, who are more advanced in these matters.
Labour believes that York should be a fully accessible city for all residents and wants to work with disabled people, including those who have mobility challenges, those who are sensory impaired and those with neurodiversity challenges to achieve this.
E-scooter rental trials are taking place in around 50 cities across the country, including in York, in a bid to drive down congestion and tackle pollution across the UK’s inner cities. Rachael added in a statement:
“I recognise the huge benefits walking, cycling and other forms of active and green travel brings to the city. However, the benefits must be accessible to everyone. The Minister stressed that it was for local authorities to ensure that this is the case, however, I also reminded him that it was the Government’s Department for Transport which was piloting the latest e-scooter pilots and accessible modes were not mandated as part of this pilot.
“While the Green/LibDem Council are locking people with mobility issues out of the city, I am trying to find solutions. In the same way that we can pick up cycles and scooters in the city, there needs to be a facility where mobility vehicles are available to support people who find it hard to get around, and enable them to enjoy all York has to offer.
“I want York to be a fully inclusive city where everyone can access all it has to offer. Today I asked the Minister to set a challenge to the active travel sector, and indeed local authorities, a challenge to ensure that all schemes are fully accessible.”