A KEIGHLEY group is making heroic efforts to improve public transport for disabled people.

People First Keighley & Craven will this month showcase its research into challenges faced by people with disabilities who use buses, trains and taxis.

To focus on the positive side of the issue they will also present an award to a ‘transport equality hero’ who has helped disabled people get around.

People First, which is run by people with learning disabilities and is based at Springfield Mills in Keighley, has teamed with Bradford & District Disabled People’s Forum for the campaign.

The two organisations will host a Disability and Public Transport event at Central Hall, Keighley, on October 17.

George Riley, one of the leading lights of the campaign, said the event aimed to tackle difficulties faced by many of the groups’ members while using public transport.

He said: “We have surveyed many members of our community, and we’ll be presenting our findings to attendees and representatives from public transport companies who will also be attending.

“The representatives will have an opportunity to speak to the audience, and there will be a question and answer session and workshops about public transport.”

Mr Riley said the position was especially bad for people with non-visible disabilities, but said the situation was getting better as more people became aware.

He said: “It’s not systematic discrimination, it can be about individual drivers. Some people working in public transport are very patient and understanding, but some are not.

“It may simply be lack of awareness, so some training for drivers might be good.”

One problem highlighted by the survey was the gap between railway platforms and train doors, coupled lack of staff on trains or at stations to put down a ramp when people in wheelchairs boarded trains.

Mr Riley said the event would not only focus on the negative aspects of using public transport.

He added: “Everyone at People First KC felt it was important to also recognise the positive feedback that we received. Therefore we will be presenting the first Transport Equality Achievement Award to a transport equality hero.

“The award is to recognise the members of the community that contribute positively, and help to tackle the difficulties many of our members face while using public transport.”

The event will run on Thursday October 17 from 11.30am until 1pm at Central Hall, Alice Street. Light refreshments will be provided.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Mr Riley at People First on 01535 607222 or email george.riley@peoplefirstkc.com.