The additional services to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities on the Irish rail network does not match the proposals voted by at the European Parliament.
Although it is welcome that more is being done to help people with disabilities who use the rail network, the proposals do not match what was voted through at the European Parliament.
It is great to see technology that will allow users to pre-book a journey that confirms they will have assistance by a member of Irish Rail staff at their departure and arrival stations and provide them with support in an emergency. However, despite these proposals, people will have to give four hours notice at stations, or even more in some cases. This does not match the ambition of what was voted for in the European Parliament, where it was proposed that people could just turn up at many stations and get assistance.
This is an issue that must be addressed, with 13% of the population in Ireland with a disability. I would ask Minister Shane Ross to reconsider the measures he has introduced to ensure they are in line with the objectives of the European Parliament.
In October MEPs at the European Parliament voted to improve the rights of rail passengers across the EU. Measures were approved to ensure that people with disabilities and reduced mobility can travel more easily. Instead of registering hours in advance, they will be able to present themselves spontaneously at many stations and ask for personal assistance.
The goal of the European Parliament report was that people could “turn up and go at stations with more than 10,000 users per day and give three hours of notice for assistance at stations with 2,000 to 10,000 daily users. Many stations in Ireland have more than 10,000 users per day.