MP Bob Seely has welcomed the introduction of a £1 million government fund to improve accessibility for disabled and reduced mobility passengers on Isle of Wight ferries.
The fund – which can only be accessed by ferry operators to the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly – has been created to ensure vital ferries are made accessible to all and is the latest step in the government’s National Disability Strategy.
From today (1 October), operators can pitch projects that will help elderly and disabled people travel with confidence on the vital transport links connecting them to the mainland. They can bid for funding to improve accessibility of ports, ferries or hovercraft.
Bids can either be for equipment, such as wheelchairs or accessible ticket machines, or building works like ramp levelling or the installation of Changing Places toilets.
Accessibility Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “These ports provide vital connections to the islands of the United Kingdom and it is imperative that they are accessible to all.
“We look forward to hearing some innovative and life-changing ideas as we take another step towards creating a fully inclusive transport network.”
Mr Seely said: “I’d like to thank the Minister and his department for creating this fund that will make it easier for passengers with reduced mobility to travel on Isle of Wight ferries.
“Our ferry services are an essential service. It is really important that all passengers can use them.
“I know that cross-Solent operators already have some measures in place to assist passengers with reduced mobility, but this will help them to improve their services to the benefit of both Islanders and visitors.”