Begley challenges Translink to remove barriers for disabled users
On international day of people with a disability Órfhlaith Begley MP attended a cross-party meeting with the Chief Executive of Translink. The delegation led by Aaron McKane and supported by disability charity Leonard Cheshire sought to challenge Translink to remove the barriers which disabled users face while accessing public transport.
Commenting after the meeting West Tyrone MP stated:
"I alongside Thomas Buchanan MLA and Cllr Chris Smyth met with the Chief Executive of Translink in respect of concerns raised by disabled people accessing public transport in rural areas.
“Aaron McKane of Leonard Cheshire, who headed up the delegation, described the difficulty he and many other wheelchair users experience when trying to travel on public transport.
"At present in rural areas wheelchair users must give Translink 24 hours notice if they require a wheelchair friendly bus due to the limited availability of lowered buses. Translink advised that they are required to remove at least four seats on the bus to allow a wheelchair on board.
"There is a disparity across the region as the 24 hour notice is not usually required in city regions. It is unacceptable that those with a disability are discriminated against due to the fact they live in a rural area.
"I welcome the pilot scheme which is due to be launched by Translink where you can book your bus ticket online which will allow people with a disability to more easily notify Translink if they require a wheelchair friendly bus. However, the 24-hour notice period will still be required.
"People with a disability should be able to access public services on an equal basis.
“Today I called on Translink to invest any new capital in wheelchair friendly buses in rural areas."