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Without a doubt, access to transport is the biggest obstacle in the path of people with disabilities.

But transport is the controversial exception from the Disability Discrimination Act.

So while a train station itself must be accessible be it through wheelchair ramps, hearing loops or timetables in Braille the trains themselves do not yet need to be.

Since March 2001, taxis have been required to carry guide or other assistance dogs, unless the driver has a medical exemption.

New buses and trains must provide for physical accessibility. But there is no "end date" set for universal access. The government says it will name the day in a forthcoming bill - but some train companies say the expected date of 2017 would be too soon.

Furthermore, companies are not currently compelled to bring in "new" vehicles they are within their rights to buy and use old stock from elsewhere.

But concepts of transport access go much further than just a ramp. For instance, if someone finds it difficult to walk 400 metres to a bus stop, shouldn't bus companies stop to pick someone up along the way? At present they don't.

If a rail company will not change a foot bridge, should it provide a taxi, at its expense, to take a wheelchair user to the opposite platform?

These kinds of change, argue campaigners, would demonstrate how the obstacles created by society can easily fall away.

Tanni Grey Thompson winning gold for Great Britain in the women's T53 100 metres at Athens
Tanni Grey Thompson winning gold for Great Britain in the 100 metres
23% turn down job offers
23% turn down interviews
20% problems getting to healthcare
67% restrict visits to family/friends
24% miss special birthday parties
16% miss wedding/funeral
Source: Leonard Cheshire Survey


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