Accessibility 2007

The Claudia Flanders Memorial Award

Sponsored by The TAS Partnership

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Claudia Flanders devoted much of her time to campaigning for better access for disabled people. Claudia set up the Tripscope telephone advice line in memory of her husband Michael Flanders whom she had assisted to overcome some of the challenges of life in a wheelchair. The Award is presented in her memory.

Since the Award's inception, entries have been sought for schemes to improve personal mobility for disabled people. The bus industry has responded with growing numbers of low floor vehicles, many equipped with ramps or kneeling capabilities - but this is only a start. Increasing numbers of bus stops, shelters and stations (although not yet a majority) now have facilities to assist disabled people and information services have been improved to help disabled people with restricted mobility, sight or hearing. Much more needs to be done, however.

The Claudia Flanders Memorial Award for Accessibility was open to operators, authorities, partnerships, suppliers or other organisations. The award will be won by a project, or a change in practice, designed to improve accessibility for any group of people. The entry had to demonstrate the improvements gained, that the project went beyond minimum statutory requirements and that it was supported by endorsements from those who benefit most.

Joint Winners: Nottingham City Council - Mobility City

Following detailed consultation, Nottingham City Council and partners Nottingham City Transport, trentbarton and the Nottingham University Hospital Trust have implemented a scheme of work making a core network of truly accessible routes to all main facilities. This covers all aspects of the journey - information, stops, ticketing, drivers, buses and interchanges. Focussing on the whole journey, the first of two 5 year programmes is being implemented encompassing information, bus stop and station facilities, accessible buses and new services, a mobility city smartcard giving both travel and commercial benefits, shop mobility and staff training. The results are impressive with both usage and satisfaction ratings rising quickly amongst concessionary card holders over the first three years. Judges particularly welcomed the whole journey emphasis, the focus on customer needs and the close working relationships, extending beyond the formal partnership.

Joint Winners: WY Metro - My Bus

Metro's Yellow Bus project (My Bus) now serves 123 schools and has 7,800 registered users. My Bus is probably the most extensive application of the Yellow School Bus concept in the UK. The service has been expanded to serve the particular needs of needs of students at Ravenscliffe School, which is a Community Day Special School located in Halifax. As a result 35 SEN children now catch a bus, rather than a taxi, to school - which is helping them to develop skills for independent living. Through the proven success of the pilot SEN (and existing My Bus services) in reducing car and taxi travel on the "School Run", Metro and its contracted operators are not only improving accessibility and social inclusion but also achieving significant modal shift. This entry extends the successful and popular service to pupils with special educational needs. Judges considered that the entry presented very well the tremendous potential of the service for extending the access opportunities of SEN pupils, enabling them to develop lifestyle skills whilst enjoying security in their travel to and from school.

Highly Commended

Centro WMPTA - Bus Hailer Project

The new Centro WMPTA - Bus Hailerwas developed as the solution to provide a user-friendly, highly visible way for blind and partially-sighted public transport users to find the exact bus number they require, to alert approaching drivers and to catch buses safely. They are highly flexible, simple to operate and feature bright colours, tactile numbers and Braille indicators. This highly effective device for blind and partially sighted people to hail their buses is an example of a simple idea that works well, making travel easier at low cost. Judges commended the way in which the project was developed in consultation with user representatives and based on good practice originating in Canada.

Stagecoach East Midlands - Gainsborough into Town

Developed in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council using kickstart funding, Gainsborough Into Town is a joint project between Stagecoach East Midlands and Lincolnshire County Council designed to improve accessibility for local people through the introduction of quality low floor buses and by providing essential links to retail, healthcare, employment and educational facilities. Important supporting features include better bus stop infrastructure and comprehensive disability awareness training for bus drivers. Judges were impressed by the comprehensive approach to mobility including ticketing and infrastructure as well as accessible services designed to promote social inclusion.

TfL - Getting around London: Your guide to accessibility

This brand new guide brings together accessibility information for all TfL modes of transport. Produced in A5 comb-bound format, the guide comprises clearly-defined sections covering each TfL mode. The bus section sits at the very front of the guide, reflecting the fact that buses are the most accessible form of mainstream public transport in London. The judges decided that TfL's latest accessibility guide deserved commendation as an example of good practice bringing together comprehensive guidance on accessible services and facilities in an easily understood form and available through a variety of media. The guide is also inclusive recognising that access measures benefits many more than those formally classified as mobility-impaired.

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