§ Mr. Parkinson
The report on education and training in the transport industry is published today.
This report focuses on a part of the potential market for public transport which has all too often been neglected in the past. Recent Government surveys indicate that there are over 6 million adults in this country who have a disability of some kind. That in itself is potentially an enormous additional market if our vehicles and systems are designed or adapted to their needs. Added to that, there is a large number of people who are not "disabled" in a medical sense but who have a "mobility handicap" which makes it difficult or impossible for them to use traditional forms of transport. People with heavy luggage, with shopping, with prams and with pushchairs, as well as those who are frail and elderly come into this category.
The report highlights this hitherto neglected market section and makes a number of direct practical recommendations to ensure that in future our transport systems are better attuned to the needs of people who have mobility handicaps. Those recommendations which involve action by my Department will be looked at immediately. I warmly endorse the Committee's work and its findings and I urge local authorities, transport operators, and professional transport institutions, to whom many of the other recommendations in the report are addressed, to note it and act upon it speedily.