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Inaccessible vehicles, poor customer service and lack of up to date information make using public transport difficult for disabled people.

8/10 disabled people told us they feel stressed or anxious when they travel, with more than half reporting that this is the case most or every time they make a journey.

Train travel is the worst offender for being inaccessible. This isn’t just the online experience, disabled people are often left stranded on the platform or on the train, this needs to only happen once to make someone think twice about using public transport again.

Households with disabled people spend almost double, 98% more than counterparts on private vehicles, taxis and car purchase.  As public transport limits disabled peoples’ ability to get around, they spend more on buying and running cars, private vehicle hire and taxis.

Households with disabled people spend 31% less per household on public travel than their non-disabled  counterparts. 22% told us that they wanted to spend more on public transport, but are prevented from doing so because of accessibility issues.

“Train travel near me isn’t accessible and it’s hard to find stations I can get on and off at. There is also a lack of availability of up to date information on stations. I have been stranded too many times to count due to lifts out of order. Because of train delays, by the time I’ve gotten to a station there is nobody to get me out the train and on to the next one, leaving me stranded.”

This report has been brought to you by Uber.

30% of disabled people say that difficulties with public transport have reduced their independence.



Percentage of disabled people who would like to spend more money on transport than they currently do

My worst experiences with accessibility have been with public transport… which is the most important thing to someone with a disability… I would be happy to spend more money on if it was more accessible.

66% of disabled people asked told us that they have experienced a problem on public transport over the past 12 months.

Of all respondents who did not submit a complaint every time they had a problem, over a third said that they didn’t complain because they didn’t believe anything would happen as a result, while one in five said that they had complained in the past and nothing had been done. These figures highlight a big problem in the current complaints process and demonstrate the lack of confidence disabled passengers have in operators’ ability to adapt and respond to feedback.

How do you tend to plan your journeys on public transport?

There’s a massive issue with ‘turn up and go travel’ for disabled people. Before I was disabled me and my family could just turn up at the station and get going. Recently we had to miss a reunion lunch because the train that was supposed to turn up was changed  and I couldn’t get through the doors, they weren’t wide enough for my wheelchair.

What are some of the issues within transport we hear again and again?

  • Disruptions and changes to platforms are not accessible to me

    Short Answer

    Announcements need to be visual and out loud with as much information as possible for visually and hearing impaired people. Notifications to smart phones are useful for disabled people who use them, but these also need to be accessible. Remember, not everyone has a smart phone and not everyone who has a smart phone has a data plan.

  • I don't know how to contact the company

    Short Answer

    When people are let down by public transport, it's not clear how to complain. Often travel booking websites don't have a clearly visible email address or phone number to contact them. Complaints procedures also vary between different types of transport, so people don't know what to expect. Our research has found that there is confusion and a distinct lack of trust from disabled people that complaints would lead to change. Make sure there is an easy way for people to contact you, the best service providers are open with their customers and listen to their feedback. Disabled customers are particularly valuable as inclusive design often leads to a better service for everyone.

Customer insight

Make your customer offer more inclusive by working with Scope.

  • Audit your digital products
  • Focus groups and testing with our panel of disabled consumers
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