Staff Training and Awareness

Work with Transport providers to ensure that staff are provided with up-to-date, regular disability awareness and equality training

There are number of training modules being used across transport modes, but disabled people stressed that this training needs to be consistent, continuous, updated regularly and delivered by certified trainers. Training also needs to include information in relation to assistance tools/cards that disabled people use to go about their day to day journeys for example the Thistle Assistance Card and sunflower lanyard.

Department for Transport (DfT)

In December 2020, the DfT created the REAL (Respect, Empathy, Ask, Listen) disability equality training programme to improve the transport sector’s confidence and skills in delivering inclusive journeys for disabled passengers. The training is underpinned by two important values: respect and empathy, and promotes two important actions: ask and listen. The modules within the programme have been developed in collaboration with people with lived experience of disability. These modules have been shared across all modes of transport in Scotland for their use as required.

Office of Rail and Road (ORR)

As part of the revised Accessible Travel Policy guidance published in July 2019 the ORR introduced enhanced obligations on train and station operators to provide up-to-date, regular disability awareness / equality training to their staff. This will mean that thousands of frontline staff in Scotland will be trained to communicate more effectively with disabled passengers, understand the challenges they may face when travelling, and will have refreshed their knowledge and skills to provide any assistance needed.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

Similarly, the CAA who oversee, and regulate all aspects of civil aviation in the UK, require all employees, including the management, who deal directly with the travelling public at airports, to receive necessary training that is developed in partnership with recognised national and European forums of people with disabilities.


Good practice already exists across the country including CalMac’s recently updated Disability Awareness training programme to incorporate Hate Crime and their work with PAMIS on training staff on their newly installed Changing Places facilities. Additionally NorthLink Ferries are undertaking training to ensure all staff are familiar with current legislation and safety procedures, including weekly drills, covering the actions necessary to assist all passengers in an emergency situation and have an on-going programme of disability awareness training for both their shore side and sea faring personnel.

Key actions for 2021-2022

In order to fulfil this objective Transport Scotland will:

  • Undertake a survey with all Local Authority areas to understand the training provided to taxi and private hire car drivers, analysis the findings and consider next steps.
  • Work with bus operators to explore and understand the training provided to bus drivers and station staff.
  • Promote and facilitate disability awareness training schemes through our Accessible Travel Steering Group and convene regular discussions with key transport providers to ensure training is being undertaken.
  • Work with Disability Equality Scotland, Police Scotland and People First Scotland as they deliver disability awareness and hate crime training in formats that suit the needs of operators.