Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Monday, 26 November 2012

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee

Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) told the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee "blue badges in theory could be taken away" as a result of UK Welfare Reform which is "actually a worry for people out there".

The Welfare Reform (Further Provision) (Scotland) Act confers powers on Scottish ministers to make provision via regulations for changes in consequence of the new Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment created under the Welfare Reform Act (UK) .

The Scottish bill aims to maintain the legislative basis that underpins devolved, passported benefits in Scotland.

These are benefits such as blue badge parking permits which people who are in receipt of certain state benefits, such as, income support or disability living allowance, are entitled to receive as a consequence of (or "passport" from) their entitlement to the UK benefit.

Jane Horsburgh from MACS for Scotland said: "There will with the reform, there could have an impact and blue badges could in theory be taken away, there is a lot of work happening within the government and me and MACS have a sort of watching brief over that and an engagement with the reform group, but they're working on how they can actually retain that.

"We don't know as yet what will be in its place. But I would just like to reiterate that it is actually a worry to people out there."

Ms Horsburgh's colleague Anne MacLean, the convener of MACS, highlighted two success stories with BAA at Edinburgh Airport and Waverley station where access for disabled people was improved.

Ms MacLean said she wanted to see improvements at other airports, like Barra and Benbecula, but added "if you are going to eat an elephant start with a small one".

Ms MacLean and Ms Horsburgh were giving evidence on the Mobility and Access Committee Annual Report 2011-12 .

Hugh Flinn and Professor Colin Reid from Passengers' View Scotland also gave evidence on their highlighting three recommendations to the government.

Mr Flinn told the committee the first recommendation was for the Scottish government to ensure that a robust mechanism for getting passenger views was maintained on a regular basis with a large enough sample for a sufficiently customised and route-specific analysis.

He suggested the current passenger survey, which only covers 1000 passengers, was to small for detailed analysis of individual routes, and a sample of 5000 would provide a wider picture.

The two other recommendations were to provide a "second-tier" complaints mechanism be established for ferry passengers and for the Scottish government to make it mandatory for public bodies to plan proactively to encourage integration between rail and bus services for all new or significantly changed rail service and to monitor this.

Passengers' View Scotland also called for an investigation into whether the Office of Fair Trading compliance requirements affected integration between bus and rail services where the same operator is involved.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee membership

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