South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), together with the Department for Transport (DfT), has won a national award for its work to improve mobility access at transport facilities in the county.
The organisations won in the Dedication to Access for All category at the prestigious National Transport Awards held in London. The award recognises the huge strides which have been made in ensuring that those who have mobility issues are not compromised in being able to access public transport and its infrastructure.
Funding has been secured to improve accessibility of the 29 rail stations in South Yorkshire, despite the national and local squeeze on budgets. SYPTE and Northern Rail have delivered around £3.5m of improvements on six lines of route including approximately £2.7m local funding as well as other improvements as well.
This has resulted in a significant improvement to the accessibility of the county’s rail stations - an improvement which has seen rises in the ‘Satisfaction with Station Facilities’ statistics for South Yorkshire.
Since 2007 SYPTE has helped to install:
- New shelters at seven stations
- Improved signage at 17 stations
- New ramps, pavings and handrails at 18 stations
- Accessible ticket and toilet facilities
- Lighting upgrades at nine stations
- Accessible parking at 13 stations
As well as this investment in rail stations, investment by bus operators and support by SYPTE has also ensured that 94% of buses throughout South Yorkshire offer low-floor access and further vehicle replacements are planned.
This has been coupled to a programme of kerb adjustments and tactile pavement installations, whilst a trial of on-bus next stop audible announcements has taken place on seven vehicles in Barnsley. Also, Door-2-Door services in which customers can pre book a bus to take them from their home to their destination, also provide the opportunity to access rail stations in town and city-centres in a way most appropriate to passengers’ needs.
As a result of all this work the number of disabled passengers travelling by train has doubled in the last five years to over three million journeys a year.
David Brown, SYPTE Director General, said: "A facility needs to be accessible first and foremost or all its other features are rendered redundant. This award is testament to the huge efforts we have made in partnership with the DfT to ensure that all our facilities in South Yorkshire can be used by everyone.