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Public Transport - Transport Programme for People with Disabilities

Introduction

The Transport Programme for People with Disabilities (TPPD) has been in existence since 1991 and has complemented and augmented improvements in accessible transport by developing a range of specialised transport services for disabled persons in conjunction with a number of service operators.

Background

The legislative basis for the Department's support of initiatives towards disabled people was established in 1990 by an amendment to the Transport Act (Northern Ireland) 1967. This is known as Section 75A. The Programme has evolved over the years, utilising Section 75A to supplement and enhance the efforts of mainstream operators in improving accessibility to their public transport services.

Aims of the Programme

The aims of the Programme are

  • To target social need by improving accessibility of public transport to people with disabilities who cannot avail of existing conventional services in Northern Ireland; and
  • To complement the work of existing service providers involved in programmes designed to promote social inclusion for people with reduced mobility.

To achieve this, the Programme supports a number of services, in areas that contain a disproportionately high number of people who are mobility impaired and who could sustain a sufficient demand to visit key destinations and utilise these services.

Current Policy

The Programme currently funds a number of activities listed below:

Door-to-Door Transport

On 29 September 2006, the Department began operating "Door-2-Door Transport" services, delivered on behalf of the Department by Chambers Coach Hire Ltd.

In 2008, the Department extended the scheme in order to provide door-to-door services in Belfast and Londonderry. Services in Belfast are operated by Disability Action Transport and in Londonderry by Bridge Accessible Transport.

Door-2-Door Transport has now been rolled out across 29 towns and cities in Northern Ireland.

For more information on the Door-2-Door Transport service, please visit the NI Direct website .

Public Transport

Revenue support is provided to Translink's Easibus services, through the Programme. These services, of which there are 10 in total, operate in Belfast. The services provide accessible local bus services mainly, but not exclusively, for mobility-impaired people who cannot avail of existing conventional services. Customers are drawn from those who reside along the specified routes.

Shopmobility

The Programme currently provides financial support for Shopmobility schemes in Ballymena, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Cookstown, Enniskillen, Lisburn, Derry/Londonderry (known as Foyle), Magherafelt, Newry, Newtownards and Omagh. These schemes lend manual and powered wheelchairs and powered scooters to members of the public with limited mobility to shop and use leisure and commercial facilities. Shopmobility schemes can be seen as the final link in the accessible transport chain

The Department has now published a guidance document, called "How to Prepare and Apply for Funding for a Shopmobility Scheme" (176kb). If you currently operate a Shopmobility scheme and already receive funding from the Department, or if you do not currently receive funding from the Department but think you would be eligible to do so, or if you are simply thinking about starting up such a scheme, please contact the Department or complete the application form in the guidance document available on-line via the above link.

The Department also funds an umbrella group for Shopmobility in Northern Ireland. The aim of this group (known as Shopmobility (NI)), is to encourage and support existing and new schemes, through networking, information, training and exchanging news and views. Anyone wishing to have more information on the umbrella group or Shopmobility in general should contact the Department or Ann Collins, c/o Shopmobility Belfast, Westgate House, 2 Queen Street, Belfast BT1 6ED (tel: (028) 9080 8090, fax: (028) 90808099 or view Shopmobility NI's website at www.shopmobilityni.org .

Advice and Support

The Programme funds the work of the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (Imtac). Imtac advises Government on issues relating to disabled and older people and the transport system. For further information on Imtac, contact either the Department or Michael Lorimer, Imtac, Enterprise House, 55-59 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8FE (tel: (028) 9072 6020, textphone: (028) 9072 6016), or visit their website at www.imtac.org.uk

Policy Review

The Department commissioned a Review in 2002, which assisted the Department in deciding the Programme's future direction. The TAS Partnership Ltd undertook the independent review of the then current Programme with a view to examining the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of its policies.

The consultants made a number of recommendations about the future direction of the Programme. Following a targeted consultation exercise (including meetings) with the main interest groups on these recommendations, the Department considered the respondents' views, and decided upon a course of action to follow in relation to each recommendation.

Details of the previous and existing policy can be found in the following documents:

Further Information

You can get further information about transport for people with disabilities on the Motoring and Transport section of the NI Direct website.