In support of a new accessibility Code of Practice from the Department of Transport (DofT) and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), the local network of Clark & Partners mobility showrooms are helping disabled mobility scooters users access the tram and bus network with the TGA Eclipse mobility scooter.
Established since 1959, Clark & Partners employs around 180 people and is the largest supplier of specialist mobility equipment operating from eight locations in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire. In addition to supporting care homes, the NHS and the community, Clark & Partners has a network of retail units that provide a range of quality aids for independent living to local people around the region. These shops are educating local people on this new DofT / CPT initiative which aims to make bus and tram travel possible for scooter users through guidance, informative leaflets and suitable mobility product recommendations. The DofT are also striving to improve the knowledge and attitude of bus and tram drivers so that they provide an enhanced service to disabled passengers. Part of this educational process for both passengers and drivers is highlighting which mobility scooters are compliant and recommended for safe use on public transport, namely models such as the TGA Eclipse. The TGA Eclipse has the largest battery range available for this type of compact, ‘bus friendly’ scooter that is essential for wider independent travel using the tram and bus network. It can also be quickly and easily dismantled for storage on a bus, tram or in the boot of most cars.
The Clark & Partners showroom based in the Hillsborough Shopping Barracks is taking the lead in educating elderly and disabled locals about this new initiative. Large numbers of owners who already drive larger mobility scooters are visiting Clark & Partners for advice and to purchase an additional tram compliant Eclipse mobility scooter. Amanda Gill, Team Leader for the Clark & Partners’ shop in Hillsborough explains: “We are delighted to be helping more people who live with restricted mobility access the tram and bus network through advice and this fantastic TGA scooter. Over the past few years we have increasingly shared the frustration of our customers who wanted to travel further afield but were put off by problems with accessibility, passenger attitude and lack of driver knowledge. We are so pleased to see this beginning to change and many of our customers have already obtained their ‘Permit for travel’ from the transport operators. This simple passport confirms their mobility scooter is compliant for use on public transport and needs to be shown to every driver before boarding. For a mobility scooter to be allowed on a local Stagecoach tram or bus for example, it must not be bigger that 600mm wide x 1,000mm long, have a turning radius smaller than 1.2m and weigh less than 65kg. As the TGA Eclipse easily complies with this criteria, is the required ‘Class 2’ 4mph specification and delivers an impressive range of up to 18 miles (with heavy duty batteries) for total peace of mind, it is absolutely perfect for people to take onboard buses and trams.”
Scooter owners can apply for their free, credit card sized permit by contacting local bus and tram operators who have adopted the new Code of Practice such as First, Stagecoach and Arriva. On application, users will be asked to complete a short training session that focuses on boarding and alighting a tram or bus safely which will then ensure they are given unobstructed access to public transport. Carrying this passport and using a compliant TGA Eclipse mobility scooter will give passengers confidence when they board, knowing travel is legitimate and the possible embarrassment of being challenged is removed.
Daniel Stone, Managing Director of TGA Mobility who supplies the Eclipse to Clark & Partners concludes: “It is fantastic to see one of our valued TGA retailers taking such a pro-active and educational approach to enhancing independence for mobility scooter users. Being able to venture further afield is so important for individuals living with restricted mobility and having the confidence to use public transport in the knowledge that accessibility is guaranteed. Education and advice for all passengers whether able bodied or disabled, transport operators and drivers in terms of inclusion within society needs to continue and we congratulate Clark & Partners efforts to promote this DofT and CPT initiative. The fact that our TGA Eclipse is making such a difference to the people of Sheffield fills us with pride.”