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All commercial bus services must be wheelchair accessible by 2026 under NTA plans

If agreed upon and implemented it would mean all vehicles would have to be low-floor wheelchair accessible within the next seven years.

Stock image of coaches.
Stock image of coaches.
Image: Shutterstock/travellight

ALL BUSES ON commercial bus services will be required to be fully wheelchair accessible by 2026 under new proposals from the National Transport Authority.

If agreed upon and implemented it would mean all vehicles would have to be low-floor wheelchair accessible within the next seven years. 

Currently, all Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann regional city fleets – which are subsidised by the NTA – are wheelchair accessible, while a low-floor system is in operation on all Luas services.. 

The proposal relates to commercial bus services such as regional-to-city routes and commuter services provided by private companies. 

The timeline for the proposals to be introduced would be split in two – the first deadline requires all rural/urban regular public bus passenger services to be low-floor, wheelchair accessible by the end of 2023. 

Operators will be required to have 25% of their fleet accessible in the first year, 50% in the second year, 75% in the third year, and 100% by year four. 

If operators do not comply they would not have their licence renewed by the NTA. 

The second deadline involves interurban services which will be required to be fully wheelchair accessible by the end of 2026.

In addition, all services will be required to provide visual and aural ‘next stop’ announcements by the end of 2023.

Stakeholders and interested parties are being invited to make submissions to the NTA on the plans. 

Anne Graham, chief executive, said: “The [NTA] is committed to improving accessibility to transport, in particular, for people with reduced mobility.”

“This commitment is reflected in the [...] statement of strategy 2018-2022, in which we have undertaken to ‘develop an efficient, effective and safe transport system so that most people, including those with a disability or mobility impairment, are within easy reach of a reliable public transport service’.”

During a public consultation in 2014, a number of recurring themes emerged according to the NTA, including maximising the use of floor space and a phased-approach to accessibility.

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