Our non-safety accessibility work
In addition to our routine health and safety work, we monitor operators' compliance with the 'Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-Interoperable Rail System) Regulations' 2010 (RVAR) and the Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSIs). These relate to accessibility of the European Union's (EU) railway system for 'persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility' (PRM TSI).
The PRM TSI is now a well-established standard for new mainline railway vehicles and is checked as part of the authorisation process when introducing vehicles into service. We have been working with Network Rail to clarify the application of the PRM TSI when stations are redesigned as it provides the opportunity to achieve TSI compliance when major work takes place at stations.
We have liaised with DLR and LU about their applications to DfT for exemptions from elements of RVAR in order to ensure that their proposals do not affect accessibility or safety. Currently, these have not yet been granted.
Most accessibility matters we have dealt with were raised by members of the public and required a cross-office approach to fully consider the application of the Disabled Persons Protection Policy and our duties under the Equality Act 2010 to promote equal treatment. Cases have included the individual failings of 'Passenger Assist' bookings, operators' rules on the carriage of mobility scooters on trains, and improving railway staff understanding that passengers' disabilities may not always be immediately apparent.