Alex Cunningham joined disability charity Leonard Cheshire to launch their new campaign calling on the Government to make sure that all train operators provide accessible end-to-end journeys.
More than a third (35%) of disabled people of working ages say they have experienced problems using trains in the last year as a result of their disability, research commissioned by charity Leonard Cheshire has found.*
The findings of this nationally representative survey of disabled people aged 18-65 in the UK reveals the barriers faced when they attempt to travel by train. Issues faced include being unable to use train stations because of a lack of step-free access, to feeling trapped in the carriage, or not being made aware they are at the right stop.
‘I am delighted to get on board with Leonard Cheshire’s new transport campaign. Public transport is a vital part of life and the government must make it a priority to ensure all train operators provide accessible end-to-end journeys so disabled people are not excluded from employment opportunities or community life.’
The personal experiences of disabled people underline why change is needed.
Chloe is a 30-year-old writer living in Kent. Only one side of her local train station is wheelchair accessible, which means when she needs to catch a train to London, she’s unable to get to the right platform and requires a taxi to take her to the nearest accessible station, 20 minutes away. She said:
“I have to book a taxi, assistance and a train ticket in advance. This is complicated and assistance is unreliable. I get really anxious that assistance is not going to be there or that there may not be member of staff on the platform and I panic.”
“You feel stranded and completely helpless! It’s so stressful and exhausting. You feel as if you always have to anticipate a lack of help in case you are forgotten about. “
Good quality, accessible public transport means that disabled people can live, learn and work as independently as they choose. Having accessible and easier train journeys can make the difference between getting out to work and seeing family and friends instead of feeling isolated and excluded from community life.
Neil Heslop, Leonard Cheshire’s Chief Executive said: Neil Heslop, Leonard Cheshire’s Chief Executive said: “It’s unacceptable that in 2018 disabled people cannot travel independently and easily whenever they want to, and are missing out on employment, education and social opportunities.
“Government must address these fundamental issues affecting rail travel for disabled people.”