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Blackpool bus firm wins Government praise

Stephen Brooks at the launch of the Government's Inclusive Transport Strategy with minister Nusrat Ghani
Stephen Brooks at the launch of the Government's Inclusive Transport Strategy with minister Nusrat Ghani

Blackpool Transport has been cited as an example of best practice in a new Government document on making transport easy for all.

It was praised for the way it accommodates passengers views and needs in the new Inclusive Transport Strategy, unveiled by minister Nusrat Ghani this week.

One of Blackpool Transport's Palladium buses

One of Blackpool Transport's Palladium buses

The Minister for Disabled Peoples’ Blackpool -based rail champion Stephen Brookes, who attended the launch of the strategy said it was good to see the inclusive and customer friendly way that the bus and trams company operates was gaining the recognition it deserves, particularly after the praise it has received for supplying replacement buses during the recent rail crisis.

He said: "I was pleased to be able to attend and see what is being done to make 'the whole journey process' accessible for all disabled people, including those with what are termed as hidden disabilities', including sensory impairments, mental health, and dementia related issues'.

"As a disabled person with both limited mobility and sensory conditions, I know that too often that we don't always get the same level of public and commercial support as the more obvious disabilities, but the impact on the individual is still as restricting, so to get a more holistic approach to inclusion is a large step forward.'

'It was also very gratifying to see that the leading work undertaken by Blackpool Transport under the leadership of MD Jane Cole has been recognised in the strategy' as its work on customer experience and satisfaction for disabled passengers is highlighted as a case study.

"The inclusion of disabled people in training and feedback has been a valuable asset, and I am trying to get the rail industry to consider similar activities and actions to reduce what is sometimes a very confrontational relationship between disabled rail passengers and the train operating companies.'

Jane Cole said: “We are delighted to have been commended for best practice in the Governments new Inclusive Transport Strategy.

"The customer is at the heart of everything we do now here at Blackpool Transport and being able to meet the needs of each and every one of our customers is our priority. Improving the customer experience and offering an inclusive network of buses and trams isn’t just something ‘we do’, it is embedded within every aspect of our business and we provide the right training and development opportunities for our staff members to be able to confidently deliver an excellent service.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard wlecomed the publication of the strategy. He said: “I’m delighted Blackpool Transport has been highlighted as an example of best practice in the Government’s new strategy. It is testament to the hard work of all those involved.

“Transport accessibility is an extremely important issue and one I did a great deal of work on during my time as rail minister. It is vital operators continue to deliver improvements for passengers, no matter what their disability and that disabled people continue to be involved in the decision making process.

"I'm really pleased to see the Inclusive Transport Strategy which I oversaw finally reach a conclusion, and welcome the vast range of ideas it contains, many of which I had strongly championed, including the pausing of shared space schemes".