Young disabled campaigners are to go undercover across the UK to find out whether access to public transport has improved since they carried out a “damning” study six years ago.Members of the Trailblazers network will check out buses, trains and taxis, and will examine access to stations, bus ramps, journey times, staff training and attitudes, and even the behaviour of fellow passengers.Six years ago, another undercover Trailblazers investigation found that disabled people were struggling to use public transport, because of problems with safety, reliability and cost, as well as a lack of basic facilities at stations and on trains, and inflated prices for accessible taxis.It concluded that “many young wheelchair-users and people with mobility difficulties face serious challenges when accessing public transport”, and it called on the government, local authorities, and transport providers, to review their accessibility policies.The 2009 report was the first of Trailblazers’ Inclusion Now series of three investigations into public transport, education and leisure.Now, six years on, Trailblazers will be asking whether transport providers kept their subsequent promises to improve services, particularly in the wake of the London 2012 Paralympics.Sulaiman Khan, a member of Trailblazers who lives in London and uses a wheelchair, said: “I experience problems on a regular basis, just trying to get from A to B on public transport.“A lot of train stations just don’t have the facilities for disabled people and I often find myself having to make my way to another station in the opposite direction of my destination, just so I can physically board the train.“This not only adds to journey time, it also increases the cost of my ticket.“Accessibility isn’t the only issue – poor staff knowledge and public attitudes towards disabled people are still commonplace.”He pointed to the high-profile legal case taken by wheelchair-user Doug Paulley, who was refused access to the accessible space on a First Group bus, after a mother refused to move her pushchair. In February, the Equality and Human Rights Commission decided to support Paulley in his bid to appeal to the Supreme Court, after he lost his case against First Bus in the court of appeal.A spokesman for Muscular Dystrophy UK, which runs Trailblazers, said: “We want to hear from young people across the UK on their experiences using public transport.“We want to find out whether promises from transport providers and local authorities are truly making a difference on the ground.”To take part in the investigation, which will take place over the next three months, visit the Trailblazers website.
ENGLAND Youth coach Stuart Barrow has named an 18-man squad to face Wales Youth at The Gnoll, Neath on Saturday April 6 (2.00pm).And three Saints – Jake Campbell, Lewis Fairhurst and Aaron Smith – will feature in the side whilst Morgan Knowles will turn out for Wales.“We had a great win against France yesterday but the job isn’t over just yet,” said Barrow. “It was fantastic to get that win and win the series against them but we have another big challenge ahead of us which is against Wales on Saturday and I’m really looking forward to it.“The lads have today (Wednesday) out of camp and then we come back together as a group on Thursday to prepare for the game. We have two days to re-focus and we’ll be working hard to ensure we’re ready for the contest and that we keep improving and developing as a group.“There were a lot of players who were disappointed not to feature in that win against France but they know they have a chance to put in a big performance against Wales this weekend and hopefully that’s what we will get from them.”Saints would like to wish all four of its representatives the best of luck.England Youth squad to play Wales1. Jack Rush (Wigan Warriors, Rochdale Mayfield)2. Jake Campbell (St Helens, Blackbrook)3. Daniel Douglas (Leeds Rhinos, Drighlington)4. Jordan Lane (Hull FC, West Hull)5. Brad Harrison (Hull FC, Skirlaugh Bulls)6. Will Gledhill (Huddersfield Giants, Wakefield Westgate)7. Jack Wells (Wigan Warriors, Folly Lane)8. Jacob Ware (Leeds Rhinos, Westgate Wolves)9. Ryan Houghton (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook)10. James Brown (Castleford Tigers, Castleford Lock Lane)11. Lewis Fairhurst (St Helens, Hindley)12. Jack Etchells (Wigan Warriors, Oldham St Annes)13. Roshane Johnson (London Broncos, Medway Dragons)14. Charlie Pythian (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion)15. Issac Noi (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)16. Kameron Pearce Paul (London Broncos, Croydon Hurricanes)17. Aaron Smith (St Helens, Blackbrook)18. Reece Brunt (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion)
AFTER last year’s success, First Utility has once again teamed up with the Super League to offer fans a free replica shirt when they switch their energy to them.As well as receiving a free replica shirt, fans could save an average of £334* on their energy bills by switching to First Utility.Once signed up, customers are also eligible for a host of exclusive offers such as winning the First Utility Super League trophy for the day, receiving free match day programmes at key events like Magic Weekend and a range of other monthly prize draws.Saints’ Jordan Turner said: “I switched to First Utility last year. Tt was so easy and I saved a load of money too.The amount you can save now is even more than when I switched, plus you get a free shirt, so it is definitely worth looking into.”To take advantage of this offer, click here and get a quote to see how much you could save.Once you’ve switched to First Utility and passed your cooling off period, you’ll be able to select a team shirt of your choice**.*Customers who registered at first-utility.com to one of our 1, 2, or 3 year fixed term and everyday tariffs between 01 January 2016 and 31 March 2016 saved an average of £334 per year.**Terms and conditions apply