Train operators shunted on accessibility as data reveals third of disabled people face ‘rail misery’

A campaign has been launched calling on the government to make sure that all train operators provide accessible end-to-end journeys.

Charity Leonard Cheshire’s campaign launch follows a survey it commissioned which revealed more than a third (35%) of disabled people of working age say they have experienced problems using trains in the last year as a result of their disability.

The survey found that issues facing disabled people 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.

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Leonard Cheshire said disabled people are getting “a second-rate service on the UK rail network”.

Disabled people’s experience of train journeys can be “extremely stressful from start to finish”, according to the charity which said that the personal experiences of disabled people “underline why change is needed”.

One disabled rail user said in the survey: “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.”

Meanwhile, Neil Heslop, chief executive at Leonard Cheshire, 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.”

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