'I'm ecstatic': disabled comedian's joy at £300m train station access improvements
PUBLISHED: 12:06 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:06 05 April 2019
A Norfolk comedian and disability access campaigner has today welcomed a £300m investment designed to improve facilities at train stations.
The Department for Transport has announced the spending on 73 stations, with work to include new lifts and adjustable ticket counters.
Disabled comedian Tanyalee Davis, a high-profile critic of facilities on trains after incidents that affected her, said she was “ecstatic” about the investment.
She said: “The fact that by 2020 trains will be fully accessable we would need the stations to match that and it’s amazing that it might be. It will finally give us the freedom to get around easier on our own.”
But she added: “I’ll believe it when I see it though. So many times money gets given, but it usually takes a long time for it to actually happen.”
The changes are also designed to benefit passengers with health conditions or impairments, and those travelling with children, luggage or shopping.
Transport accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Transport is vital for connecting people with work, friends and family, but also to enable them to enjoy visiting some of the wonderful cultural, historical and natural sites across the UK.
“We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently. Over the next five years these newly accessible stations will open up routes across the country, helping us move closer to a transport sector that is truly accessible.”
Stations were chosen using a criteria which included their usage, level of local disability and value for money of the work.
Among the stations selected are Stowmarket, Ipswich and Manningtree on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street. Two lifts will be constructed at Ipswich.
Around 1,500 stations have received smaller upgrades such as accessible toilets, platform humps to reduce stepping distances and improvements to help those with a visual or hearing impairment.
Keith Richards, chairman of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, said: “The announcement is very welcome and must go hand-in-hand with clear and practical information to ensure that disabled people are aware of what improvements have been made, and that more travel options are now possible as a result.”