Gordon has used a Commons Question Time to criticise the Tory Government over the lack of progress made around public transport access for disabled people.
Speaking as Labour’s Transport spokesperson on Buses and disability access, he said the Government’s exemption of bus companies from mandatary disability training was “not working” – a view shared by the Royal National Institute for Blind People, the Transport Select Committee and the charity Guide Dogs.
Gordon, who has campaigned locally with groups such as Blackpool Transport Users Panel commented: “The Government have ducked and dived on this: a review that was first promised for 2014, then more evidence this January confirmed the disquiet. I have received a written answer telling me that there will be research project – a review of a review.” He added that the buck needed to stop being passed for disabled people on buses.
Speaking after the Commons Question Time he added: “It’s good when there’s good practice locally as there has been with Blackpool Transport working with the Users Panel on disability issues. This needs to happen with all companies nationally and that’s where this Government is letting disabled people down by not ensuring it happens everywhere.
“In Blackpool we have done a lot of good work to improve transport access for disabled people. I have seen this in my role as President of Rideability, who by working in cooperation with Blackpool Council have provided a lifeline for many people with disabilities, making their day to day lives much easier.”
Gordon’s comments have also been welcomed by Stephen Brookes MBE, Chair of the Blackpool Transport User group, as well as project lead for the ODI Disability Action Alliance on public transport accessibility.
He said: “As a transport user I know how important it is that people who have a full spectrum of disabilities ranging from learning disabilities, mobility issues, mental health and sensory impairments need to be involved in the delivery of training to all public transport service providers.
“We are pleased that Gordon has attended our Blackpool group meetings and has seen first-hand the massive gains to both staff and passengers of collaborative work which importantly includes disabled people being part of awareness training for all drivers and staff who, day to day, deal with service users.”
Gordon also attended a Parliamentary reception hosted by the disability charity Guide Dogs. At the event, the Blackpool South MP gave his support to their campaign for stronger laws around cars parking on pavement – an issue that has come up in Gordon’s constituency casework.
He explained: “This is an issue I strongly support Guide Dogs on. Cars parked on pavements can cause big problems, especially to people with disabilities. I will continue to raise this point locally through my casework and also work with my colleagues nationally to make sure we can find a solution to this problem.”