Clause 176

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:30 am ar 2 Gorffennaf 2009.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 9:30, 2 Gorffennaf 2009

I have a brief question arising from our previous debate. If the Secretary of State is asked to make provision for an exemption order, after consulting the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and any other person whom he thinks appropriate, he has the options of making an exemption order, refusing to do so, or doing so with specific conditions and restrictions. In the past, would those conditions have  included the sort of communication that the operator had to undertake to make people aware of particular rail networks or trains that were not accessible?

A criticism that is often raised with me by constituents is that they are not only annoyed when a particular rail network is not accessible; they are most annoyed when they do not know that it is accessible or they think, or are led to believe, that it is accessible. In such circumstances they may be surprised and may end up with a lot of problems once they are on the train, including finding that they have to go to another station that they did not expect to go to. If the Secretary of State is to make exemption orders and rail vehicles are not accessible, one useful condition could be included relating to what the operator has to do in terms of proper communication, so that disabled people using that service are aware not just that it is not accessible, but what other options are available that they might use to maximise their mobility.