Access to public transport has been highlighted as a problem in Ireland for many years with notice needed for commuter trains, numerous bus stops inaccessible, some areas not covered by any service and accessible taxis in short supply.
Although the Department of Transport has reformed some sectors in this area, others are still waiting for improvement. One such area is rural bus stops which are the responsibility of local authorities. Some commuters have been left frustrated at being unable to access local accessible services due to inaccessible stops.
It was reported recently that the lifts were out of service at several DART and commuter stations for more than 20 consecutive days, with Luas lifts also reported as being out of order frequently. One Dublin station had a lift out of service for over 70 days in total over an almost two-year period.
Another issue raised by campaigners is the availability of taxis. There is up to €7,500 of a grant available for the purchase of a wheelchair accessible taxi, yet campaigners say that these are very hard to book when needed. There are also concerns over access for guide or assistance dogs in taxis.
Planning is also needed for passengers requiring accessibility ramps for train access. For intercity trains, the Irish Rail website states that staff need 24 hours advance notice to ensure staff can be deployed for assistance. The DART recommends calling a staffed station four hours before travelling.
HELP US INVESTIGATE
With people unable to travel from their local area due to inaccessible bus stops or platforms, we want to find out just how bad the problem of accessibility is across public transport in Ireland through freedom of information requests and by talking to those affected. We also want to find out if schemes administered by Irish Rail such as taxis to accessible stations are working in practice.
We want to investigate what is being done by both public and private transport operators to improve accessibility and whether these are adequate for passengers.
We want to find out whether the recommendations of an Oireachtas report on this issue have been implemented, and if not, why not.
Have you any information that you think would help this investigation, contact us at [email protected]
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