Transport is at the heart of how we live our lives. It helps us get to work, stay in touch with friends and family, contribute to society and access vital services like healthcare and education. Easy access to transport is central to building a stronger, fairer economy.
While many take for granted the ability to travel easily from A to B, this is not the reality for everyone in Mid Sussex— especially those with limited vision & blindness. As your local MP, I am determined that no one should be refused access to businesses or services because they have a guide dog, and everyone deserves to travel with comfort and dignity.
Audio visual equipment on buses can support a wide range of disabled passengers to feel confident about using buses. Draft Public Service Vehicles (Accessible Information) Regulations were laid in Parliament on 30 March 2023 which would require operators of local services to provide audible and visible next stop, route, termination and diversion information to passengers on all their in-scope buses and coaches. It’s anticipated the regulations will come into force on 1 October 2023. I am delighted to see this come forward.
The Government has also committed, through the Inclusive Transport Strategy, to investing £2 million towards ensuring audio visual equipment is installed on buses. The Real Time Information Group, who support good practice regarding communications technology on public transport, will work with the Department for Transport to allocate the £2 million to small bus operators, for audio and visual on-board information.
Guide dogs give people with disabilities the freedom and confidence to work, travel and visit friends independently. There are already strict laws against the discrimination of those who rely on guide dogs, and I remain committed to championing greater recognition of the visually impaired in Parliament. For instance, last year I was honoured to pledged my support to children and young people with a vision impairment through Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/mims-davies-mp-backs-guide-dogs-all-things-equal-campaign#:~:text=The%20MP%20for%20Mid%20Sussex%2C%20Mims%20Davies%20has,families%20to%20talk%20about%20the%20challenges%20they%20face
Locally, I had the pleasure of visiting Station Taxis as part of the ‘Guide Dogs High Street Heroes Campaign’ to chat about their provision for clients who have Guide or Hearing Assistance Dogs and make sure people can get across Mid Sussex with the support needed: https://twitter.com/mimsdavies/status/1593199479687385090
Additionally, the Government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy commits to enhancing disability equality and awareness training for transport staff which will better equip them to assist, safely and confidently, those with mobility challenges, including guide dog owners.
More generally, the Equality Act 2010 makes clear the duties of all people to permit guide dogs, without any hindrance, access to most services, premises and vehicles. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in prosecution and a fine on conviction of up to £1,000.
We have come a long way but a genuinely inclusive transport system is central to building a country that works for everyone. I look forward to working with the many groups, organisations and individuals who will all have an important role to play in making this happen.
More information on inclusive transport can be found here: