Date lodged: 10 August 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to accommodate (a) pregnant women, (b) older people and (c) disabled people on the Borders Railway.
Answered by: Humza Yousaf 6 September 2017
Abellio is obliged to meet all the regulations and legal requirements relating to accessibility as the operator of the ScotRail Franchise.
The Borders Railway opened in September 2016 with every new station on the route made step free enabling disabled customers and people with reduced mobility to access the station.
The existing ScotRail fleet is currently undergoing a significant upgrade programme to meet both the requirements of the Franchise Agreement with Scottish Ministers and the (PRM-TSI) regulations for rolling stock which has a deadline of 1 January 2020. When this work is completed all trains in the fleet will have universal accessible toilets (UATs) installed, ahead of the 2020 deadline, as well as spaces for two wheelchairs adjacent to companion seating, call for aid buttons, boarding/ alighting ramps, around 10% of train seating clearly marked for priority users, tactile door opening buttons with tonal contrasts, on-train announcements and passenger information screens.
In addition, ScotRail provides a Passenger Assist Service which currently requires to be booked at least four hours in advance and will be reducing to three hours later this year. This will be further reduced to two hours by 2019 and by 2021 the notice period will be one hour.