§ 43. Mr. Nellist
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to the petition recently presented to him concerning disabled people's access to public transport; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Freeman
We fully support the principle of moving towards more accessible vehicles. However, in view of the operational and technical difficulties to be resolved, we believe that the target date of 1992 is unrealistic.
We are currently working on the development of a new generation of low floor buses that can accommodate wheelchair users on regular services. We are concerned that for the benefit of both the operators and the potential passengers such vehicles should be able to provide effective and sustainable services. We have some way to go in the development of these vehicles before we can be sure that those concerns have been met. We hope to start trials on what is likely to be the first in a series of low floor accessible demonstration vehicles later this year.
We are also working with coach manufacturers on design requirements for lifts to be fitted to high floor coaches. For both buses and coaches the most effective way forward is likely to be through Europe-wide legislation.