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GOVERNMENT TO CONSULT ON BUS AND COACH ACCESSIBILITY

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New buses and coaches used on local or scheduled services will have to be accessible to disabled passengers, includ...
New buses and coaches used on local or scheduled services will have to be accessible to disabled passengers, including wheelchair users, transport minister Lord Macdonald announced today.

The government is to consult on proposed regulations under the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

This gives the government power to make accessibility regulations for buses, coaches, trains and licensed taxis.

Commenting, Lord Macdonald said: 'Most of us take for granted being able to travel by bus or coach, but for many disabled people such travel opportunities are difficult or impossible.

'These new regulations will be phased in over time for different vehicles, beginning next year with requirements applying to full size single deck buses. By 2017 all buses and coaches used on local or scheduled services will be fully accessible.'

Some improvements are already being made and over the last few years with most new buses being built with low flat floors.

This has resulted in increased bus usage, not only amongst disabled people, but also from people travelling with small children, luggage or shopping.

NOTES

1. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 provides powers for the government to make accessibility regulations for buses, coaches, trains and licensed taxis.

2. Informal consultation on the proposals for buses and coaches took place at the beginning of 1998. A similar informal consultation has taken place on taxis. In the case of rail vehicles a regulation has already been introduced and apply to new rolling stock introduced from 1 January 1999.

3. The statutory consultation on the draft regulations will run until 29 October 1999. They have been formally notified to the European Commission.

4. The document is available from: DETR, Mobility Unit, Zone 1/11, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DR. Fax: 0171-890-6102.

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