Transport Code of Practice
The Disability Rights Commission is currently consulting on important changes to the Disability Discrimination Act in relation to the provision and use of transport vehicles.
Shortly before the General Election, Parliament passed the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. This Act makes a number of amendments to the original DDA (1995). Included are clauses which allow the Government to lift the partial exemption of transport providers from the duties on providers of goods and services under the DDA.
The Government has announced that it intends to use these powers and extend the DDA, with effect from the end of 2006, to provide full coverage for land based public transport providers: rail, bus, coach, light rail and tram, taxi & PHV, car rental and breakdown services.
Transport providers already have duties under Part 3 of the DDA in relation to transport infrastructure and ancillary services such as the accessibility of stations and the use of public information systems. The change in the DDA will mean that the full range of their services now falls within the scope of the legislation.
National Express Coach Firm has risen to the challenge by fitting some of its coaches with a special passenger lift designed to allow wheelchair users easy access. The NX Magic Floor Lift has been designed by a Midlands based firm and is built on a Volvo chassis.
The lift is built behind the first step of the coach and movable seats have been manufactured on a sliding rail. When a wheelchair is not on board, these seats remain in place and can be safely and comfortably used by other customers.
Bill Cahill, Operations Director, said ” Finding a solution for the DDA requirements has been a project of great magnitude for a large team of people at National Express. In order to offer the same high standards to customers in a wheelchair as we offer others, we needed to find a solution that would enable the customer to board safely and with dignity.”
The vehicle is the first of its kind in Europe and after trialsis ude to go into full service during 2006.