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Challenging the Transport Minister on accessibility of Bristol's local train network

It is outrageous that in 2018, some disabled passengers are still seriously disadvantaged by the lack of step-free access in Bristol’s local train network. Wheelchair users in Lawrence Hill can only access the platform to travel in one direction, which means that if they want to travel to the main station at Temple Meads, they need to travel up the line, cross the railway and catch another train down.

This changes a five-minute journey to more than 35 minutes in some cases – and that includes a quick change of a few minutes which may be impossible for some disabled people. If you need more time to change trains, the journey could take almost an hour – an incredible waste of time for a direct journey of around a mile.

Step-free access at this station has been promised for some time, yet my Lawrence Hill constituents are still suffering this indignity.

I asked Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani what will be done to change this. She agreed to meet me and Margaret Hickman, Councillor for Lawrence Hill. I hope we can change this situation quickly. This would benefit disabled people and anyone else needing step-free access, including parents with buggies.

Transcript and video below:

SPEAKER: Thangam Debbonaire.

THANGAM: Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, disabled passengers in the Lawrence Hill area of my constituency are not being served with step-free access yet they have been promised it for some years. They have to get a train up the line, then get another train down the line on the other side, before they can get to Temple Meads to get a mainline train.

Will the Minister meet with me and Cllr Margaret Hickman to discuss this urgently?

MINISTER: Of course I’m happy to meet with the Member to talk about accessibility within her constituency. As I mentioned before, the Access for All funding is available for all train stations, if she is alluding to a Tube station that would be obviously a different situation altogether, but as it’s a train station, I’m more than happy to meet with the Member.

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