The Claudia Flanders Memorial Award
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.
Winners: Brighton & Hove City Council, Buses for All
This year Brighton & Hove became the first authority in the country to provide a programme of talking bus stops for the visually impaired. This latest initiative builds on a decade of improving access to bus services for people with disabilities. This is all helping to make local bus services far more attractive and proves a real alternative to the car.
The judges were impressed with the wide range of measures that had been implemented. Even though those with disabilities may represent comparatively small numbers, such initiatives as these are vital to them and, of course, they also bring benefits to all other bus users.
What Brighton & Hove has achieved should be an inspiration for other local authorities and bus operators to follow.
Runners Up: West Yorkshire PTE (Metro): MetroLocal
MetroLocal is a new type of bus service, giving an enhanced journey to school for pupils with special educational needs together with a new,accessible, neighbourhood bus service. Not only does the service promote the independence of disadvantaged school pupils but it also improves accessibility to local services for adults of limited mobility.
The judges were impressed with the joined-up thinking that’s gone into the scheme, and the good use of resources. The way it encourages independent travel for both school children and adults with disabilities are best practice that have the potential to be applied elsewhere.
West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (Centro)
This teaches people needing additional support the independence and skills to make public transport journeys safely and effectively.
The trainee develops increased confidence and independence, it reduces the trainees’ dependence on parents and carers, and it gives pupils easier access to schools and colleges. The local economy benefits from better access to work opportunities and there are cost savings through reducing the need for dedicated taxis and minibuses. The manual can be applied by teachers,employers, carers and travel trainers to help those most in need.
The judges felt that initiatives to help people with disabilities use conventional bus services were to be applauded, and that the guide is comprehensive and provides a good resource for travel trainers.
Lancashire County Council, Flexi Link
Flexi Link is operated by Central Lancs Dial-a-Ride in partnership with Lancashire County Council. An initiative of the European CIVITAS SUCCESS project, Flexi Link aims to improve accessibility in South Ribble, complement the mainstream transport links that already exist. The unique and innovative branding and livery aims to attract passenger's new users onto the fully accessible service available to everyone.
Who could be nominated?
The award was open to operators, authorities, partnerships, suppliers or other organisations.
… and by whom?
Nominations were accepted from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The award will be won by a project, or a change in practice, designed to improve accessibility for any group of people. The entry was required demonstrate the improvements gained, that the project goes beyond minimum statutory requirements and that it was supported by endorsements from those who benefit most. Entries were be ranked on the basis of the submissions made, which needed to:
- Describe the problem(s) that the project was designed to solve.
- Describe the project and how it was implemented, including staff training and development, and explain why this solution was chosen.
- Explain the extent to which disabled people or their representatives were involved in developing the project
- State how the project or service was communicated (marketed) to the target group(s)
- Indicate the methods used to monitor the impact of the project, and any changes to the project made as a result of the monitoring.
- Supply evidence showing the results of the project in terms of patronage or other appropriate indicators.
- State whether the results likely to be sustainable?
- Describe the organisation’s accessibility policy and/or codes of practice for serving customers with disabilities, and how the policies are monitored
- Describe how staff are involved in developing and implementing accessibility policies including training and feedback.
- Describe any future plans for further development.
- Include any relevant supporting material.