This years’ Annual Delivery Plan, and the priorities within it, have been agreed in co-production with our Transport Accessibility Steering Group and its 30 strong representatives of disabled people’s organisations, local government, transport operators from across all modes and the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) with its 15 Public Appointees, and by policy officials from across Transport Scotland and Scottish Government.
We have devised a set of robust objectives that will look to deliver positive outcomes for disabled travellers in 5 new policy areas. We will also continue to progress those areas not completed last year (our legacy priorities).
Our Legacy Priorities
We always envisaged that some priorities would take a little longer and would continue to be a primary focus for us. Last year also paused many areas of our work, with staff pivoted into other critical COVID-19 areas. However, we are pleased to say that some progress has been made as we continue to make improvements for disabled travellers.
Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) was mentioned by many of our key stakeholders and whilst we understand the role DRT, and in particular community transport, has played over the course of the pandemic in delivering flexible door-to-door services for disabled people, and ensuring people in rural communities can continue to access key services, we have taken the decision not to include this as a priority at this stage in the Framework’s lifespan.
Transport Scotland colleagues are looking at a range of issues relating to the future for DRT in Scotland, including what our financing arrangements should be for bus and other public transport services as they recover from the pandemic and the scope for specific interventions. For example supporting the introduction of a Scotland-wide IT platform which could be used by local DRT services.
We will therefore work closely with our colleagues to ensure consideration is given to disabled travellers throughout the further development of this policy area.
Our Rural Focus
As we take forward these priorities we will continue to work closely with colleagues and stakeholders with an interest in rural transport ensuring that existing and future transport related polices, strategies and services fully meet the needs of island and rural communities.
The Accessible Travel team will also forge stronger, more focussed relationships with both the Rural Parliament and Scottish Rural Action.