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Accessibility Panel

Our Accessibility Panel influences our accessibility policies and advises us on how to support disabled, Deaf and older customers to use our services effectively.

The Panel also advise us on our accessibility plans for new and refurbished trains and stations, as well as our staff training programme. Their mystery shopping exercises provides us with invaluable feedback on our stations and premises.

The members are made up of disabled and older people with a varying range of experience of rail travel. They have hidden and visible impairments and each champion different issues facing customers with access barriers.

The Panel meet quarterly, but also attend task groups and workshops throughout the year.

Paralympic athlete Nathan Stephens joins forces with Transport for Wales to promote accessible travel

Read the article here

Our Panel

  • Margaret Buchanan Geddes
    • Margaret Buchanan Geddes Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
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    • Margaret is a blind veteran and has neuro-sensory hearing loss. She is also an ambassador for Deafblind UK in South Wales. Margaret is the volunteer Chairperson of the local Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot Group. She believes in the principle of equality of travel - geographical equality of access with ease of travel for all members of society irrespective of ability/disability.
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    • My main aim on the Panel is to fight under the banner ‘disability is not geographical’

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • I really want parity in bus and train travel throughout Wales and the UK in general.
  • Margaret Everson MBE
    • Margaret Everson MBE Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
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    • Margaret was Director for Wales for Bus Users Cymru and dealt with strategy and policy matters as well as bus punctuality and reliability. She holds a CPC in National and International PSV Operations. Since stepping down from Bus Users Cymru in 2018, Margaret has continued her role on the Ministerial Advisory Forum for Ageing and sits on the MAFA Transport Group. She has worked in public transport since 1977, is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and is a member of the CILT Board of Trustees.
    • Margaret was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2013 for services to bus users and transport in Wales.
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    • I joined the Panel to pursue my interest in the provision of information and movement around railway stations, as well as the door to door experience of travel for older and less mobile people.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • The way essential information is presented – the right height for everybody to read it and a big enough font for customers in a hurry
  • Andrea Gordon
    • Andrea Gordon Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
    • Andrea lives in Swansea and manages Guide Dogs Cymru's engagement team. She is a member of the Accessible Transport Panel which has played a major role in developing the Welsh Government's accessible transport objectives. Andrea actively campaigns for the inclusion of disabled people in all areas of life and, as a guide dog owner, has a particular interest in the inclusion of people with sight loss. Her job involves influencing policy makers at a strategic level which requires a sound technical knowledge of inclusive practice in the built environment and the application of equality legislation. Andrea is Chair of Vision Impaired West Glamorgan (VIWG) a charity representing the views and concerns of people with sight loss in Swansea. This involves influencing local transport infrastructure and strategy, requiring an understanding of local as well as national transport planning.
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    • I am a frequent independent user of rail services and am passionate about ensuring they are accessible and inclusive.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • Accessible and inclusive transport information is particularly critical for people with sight loss, including audio-visual announcements at stations and on-board all trains.
  • Simon Green
    • Simon Green Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
    • Simon Green is Chair of Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People and a Trustee with Disability Wales. He has been a wheelchair user since 2003 and, unable to drive, relies on public transport. Simon has recently moved to Pencoed so now uses trains almost daily to travel to Bridgend or Cardiff, and regularly goes further afield around Wales and England.

      Simon is passionate about helping to improve the travelling experiences of disabled people, including better services for those with sensory impairments such as more audio-visual displays.

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    • Most of the time things work well - ramps arrive on time and the wheelchair space on the train is free. But sometimes, if things do go wrong it can put disabled people off using public transport which can impact on work opportunities and social lives.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • I am particularly keen to support the development of the disability equality training as this will make a huge difference to staff attitudes and approaches.
  • Eric Heath
    • Eric Heath Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
    • Eric is an autism self-advocate at the Department of Health and Social Care, working cross-government on the national autism strategy in England. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyspraxia and ADHD, Eric has advocated for those with hidden impairments and has co-run ‘Autonomy’, a self-help and social group for autistic adults for the past 15 years. In his spare time Eric writes and records music as ‘E.L. Heath’ (his Welsh-language album ‘Tŷ’ was featured as ‘album of the week’ on BBC Radio Cymru in 2013). He also plays cricket, having represented the England Learning Disability Lions, the Shropshire County Disability team for 18 years and his local club Knockin and Kinnerley. Eric lives with his partner Victoria in rural Mid-Wales at the base of a towering hill.
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    • Living in Mid-Wales, I'm keen to help improve my local rail service, which is a critical link many people rely on. My interest in transport, with a view to access, has been life-long.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • As someone with recognised hidden impairments, I’m keen to improve access in areas which are less obvious and for conditions which are less visible, aiming to improve access for all. Areas such as perception and communication can be critical barriers if not addressed and the increased use of technology to help navigate our complex rail network is vital to helping plan and complete a journey. Areas such as this can only help build confidence and independence if made accessible to all.
  • Kirsty James
    • Kirsty James Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
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    • Kirsty is a Campaigns Officer for RNIB Cymru. She supports blind and partially sighted people with local and national campaign issues, such as transport, shared space and accessible information. Kirsty volunteers for two sight loss charities Look UK and Esme’s Umbrella to help others overcome barriers they experience. She sits on various health board steering groups, Council Access Groups and ITV Accessibility Panel. Kirsty has been travelling independently using rail for the last thirteen years with a vision impairment.
    • Working for RNIB Cyrmu, I hope my involvement in the Panel will help our organisations work in a joined-up and strategic way.

  • Mark Jones
    • Mark Jones Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
    • Mark has expressed a keen interest in travel since his youth, spending countless hours as a teenager travelling across North Wales by both bus and train. Mark volunteers for Guide Dogs Cymru and Bus Users Cymru (part of Bus Users UK), as well as attending various local sight loss groups in North Wales. Mark has a physical disability and is visually impaired, but that doesn’t stop him from making frequent long-distance journeys by public transport. Mark has experience in accessibility, information services and speaks both Welsh and English.
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    • I joined the Accessibility Panel as I feel a number of the visually impaired and blind community lack trust in public transport and I want to support Transport For Wales to do everything it can to help all customers trust the services provided for them.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • I would like to make sure that every train and every station has readily accessible information in a format that can be understood by all.
  • Tafsila Khan
    • Tafsila Khan Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
    • Tafsila is a mother of three and is visually impaired. She has been volunteering with the RNIB since August 2017. Tafsila works with RNIB to increase awareness of sight loss to organisations and the wider society. She has worked on the recent RNIB campaign for accessible health information.
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    • My main aim on the Panel is to work together with the train company and people with other disabilities to improve access for all.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • I’m really interested in supporting businesses to use audio descriptions on videos effectively.
  • Robert Mann
    • Robert Mann Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
    • Robert is from Llandudno, North Wales. He is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and lives with a range of related difficulties and health issues ranging from anxiety to dyspraxia and other physical issues. Robert is passionate about photography (specialising in railway photography) alongside cosplay and modelling work. He has been doing community rail projects with Arriva Trains Wales (and now Transport for Wales) for the last few years, including the Confident Traveller project and promotes the Orange Wallet scheme. Robert also produces photography for the TfW media team. He is also working on a documentary project on Autism with ‘TAPE Community Music and Film’ based in Old Colwyn, North Wales.
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    • I want to make a positive contribution to the railway industry that will enable people with disabilities to travel more confidently and comfortably.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • I particularly want to highlight the difficulties faced by people like myself who have hidden disabilities and are less likely to receive assistance by staff if they lack understanding of invisible disabilities.
  • Trevor Palmer B.E.M.
    • Trevor Palmer BEM Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
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    • Trevor’s interest in access issues has evolved since his diagnosis with MS in 1994. He is a Director of Disability Wales, a Trustee of See Around Britain and was contracted to establish and run the Wales Millennium Centre Disability Advisory Group during its construction and fitting out. In 2018 Trevor was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to disabled people in Wales. Being a full time wheelchair user who travels with his PA / Support worker in the course of running his business, good access is important to Trevor’s independence. His social model approach is key to the panel’s success.
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    • I’m on the panel to offer my knowledge and skills to improve the travel experience of disabled passengers.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • Businesses can sometimes forget customer experience for their disabled customers. So I want to focus on customer experience of every aspect of rail travel including physical access, staff attitudes and business practice. 
  • Amanda Say
    • Amanda Say Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
    • Amanda is a frequent traveller on public transport and uses the train several times a week to get her to meetings and for leisure. She is a volunteer coach with Riding for the Disabled working with adults and children with different disabilities, specialising in teaching dressage. Amanda is also volunteers as a Rail Pastor, an initiative involving trained volunteers from the local churches who look out for vulnerable people travelling on the railways and help where they can. She takes any opportunity that she can to promote the rights of the disabled person and represent their needs.
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    • I want to contribute my experiences as a passenger using a wheelchair to improve the experience of rail travel from booking assistance to leaving the station.

  • Alun Thomas
    • Alun Thomas Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
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    • Alun is an established rights campaigner having worked in senior positions in the Disability Rights Commission, Equality & Human Rights Commission and the Older People’s Commissioner’s office. Prior to these roles he was RNIB’s Parliamentary Officer. Alan is partially sighted. He is currently a carer for an elderly partner with a range of physical and mental health impairments. Both are regular rail travellers.
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    • I offer Transport for Wales my working knowledge of equality laws and their practical application including interaction with Welsh language obligations.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • I want to help embed disability equality impact assessments into day to day decision- making.
  • Sarah Ward
    • Sarah Ward Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
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    • Sarah has a love of travel and is frequently to be found exploring Britain’s rail network. Formerly an occupational therapist, she's keen to find practical solutions to everyday problems. In 2018, she was involved in testing a new passenger assist app. When not travelling, Sarah enjoys playing music, reading, and is a regular participant in her local Parkrun as a wheelchair competitor.
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    • Frustrated by negative attitudes and needless barriers (like luggage in on-board wheelchair spaces), I joined the Panel with a view to making things better in a constructive and positive way.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • I'd like to see truly integrated assistance for disabled passengers on the whole of the rail network, with more effective communication between contact centres, station staff, and onboard crew. There’s a real opportunity to use assistive technology to improve customer experience.
  • Rhys Govier
    • Rhys Govier Transport for Wales Accessibility Panel Member
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    • A Chartered Town Planner by profession, Rhys enjoys shaping the places we live, work and play and has an appreciation of the importance of accessibility and connectivity in the 21st century. Rhys was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease – an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – in January 2017. Rhys regularly travels across England and Wales by train for work and therefore has firsthand experience of the difficulties faced by those with ‘hidden’ disabilities when using the transport network and the corresponding stigma. Rhys lives in Cardiff with his wife and young child. His wife, Charlotte, is a General Practitioner with a specialist interest in IBD.
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    • I joined the Accessibility Panel in an effort to represent the needs of those with ‘hidden’ disabilities, and in particular those who require ready access to toilets. I am hopeful we can build a transport system that encourages use by all.

    • Is there a specific issue you want to champion on the Panel?
    • Awareness of ‘hidden’ disabilities and the ready accessibility to toilets across the transport network, including station buildings and rolling stock.

There are currently no vacancies to join the Panel.

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