06/08/2013

Disabled Access Public Transport Programme Hailed

The first year of an action plan to improve accessibility for disabled people on Northern Ireland's public transport has been hailed by the Department for Regional Development.

The three-year Accessible Transport Strategy Action Plan began in 2012 and has already seen £30m invested in Translink to enable the introduction of 143 fully wheelchair accessible buses.

There were 20 new trains brought into operation at a cost of £114m, all of which are fully compliant with Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations.

A pilot project to introduce audio visual information systems on Metro services in Belfast has also been completed and the Department is now seeking funding to instal the systems on all Translink buses.

The redevelopment of the Antrim Bus and Rail Station and Portadown Rail Station has also provided new facilities to assist travel by people with disabilities.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said: "I welcome the progress that has been made in the first year of the three year Action Plan, which I published in 2012. Against a backdrop of budget constraints, I am pleased to report that my Department continues to strive towards the removal of barriers that impede disabled people and older people from travel and transport services.

"This Action Plan follows on from the success of earlier plans in delivering the Accessible Transport Strategy. I will continue to seek opportunities for funding which will further enhance delivery of the Action Plan over the next two years."

(IT/MH)

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