Thank you for contacting me about ensuring people with sight loss can access public transport as the country begins to open up again.
I am grateful that you have taken the time to write to me on this important matter.
You may be pleased to hear that the Government has recently published new guidance for transport operators, reminding them that all equality and discrimination law continues to apply, and that they have a duty to ensure that passengers with disabilities, including those with sight loss, are able to access the transport network.
The guidance makes clear that transport operators must support individuals to ensure they are able to adhere to social distancing, and that guidance should be provided for workers assisting people with disabilities.
Furthermore, information should be provided for disabled passengers on how they can continue to access transport in a safe way. Operators should publish details about provision for disabled passengers, and they should note any changes to assistance services.
In addition, I would expect passengers using public transport to be considerate towards those with disabilities who may require a seat or more space around them.
More broadly, I welcome that the Department for Transport is working closely with the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee in order to identify ways of improving the experience of disabled passengers during lockdown and into the future. In addition, I know that Ministers are regularly meeting with key disability stakeholders, such as Guide Dogs, to hear about the experiences of disabled people using transport. This will help the Government to be able to swift action if it finds that passengers are not receiving the necessary support.
I also commend the guidance put together by Guide Dogs. If you or someone you know are in require assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch and I would be happy to draw it to the attention of local transport operators.
Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to stay up to date with the latest information from me, you can sign up to my e-newsletter here.