Action plan to tackle Hartlepool disabled transport problems

Taxi rank, Station Approcah, Hartlepool.
Taxi rank, Station Approcah, Hartlepool.
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An action plan that seeks to improve access to transport in Hartlepool for people with disabilities is to be produced by council chiefs.

It follows an in depth investigation by Hartlepool Borough Council which highlighted a number of issues faced by people in town contributing to social isolation and a lack of independence.

They include wheelchair users not being able to access a hospital shuttle bus between the University Hospital of Hartlepool and North Tees site in Stockton.

A recommendation from the study is to ask for the bus to be made wheelchair accessible including at peak times and also to seek to ensure the patient transport service includes arrangements for people’s carers.

The council is also to explore the viability of a creating new travel membership club for people with disabilities to access as and when.

It will look at the demand, funding sources, volunteer drivers and the chance of accessing or expanding existing charity schemes in the area.

Three public events were held as part of the investigation.

Councillor Rob Cook, vice chair of the Audit and Governance Committee, said: “It was amazing how much information we garnered from the members of the public who came to the meetings.

“If it hadn’t been for their involvement it would not have been as in depth as we have ended up with.”

Another recommendation from the study was to explore any ways to make it more affordable for taxis to become wheelchair accessible to deal with a shortage in Hartlepool.

Cabbies told the investigation it is to costly and journeys of disabled passengers take longer.

Coun Stephen Thomas, chair of the Adult Services Committee, said: “The hospital side is just one aspect people with disabilities are facing on a day to day basis.”