I recently had a a letter to the editor of the Bucks Herald newspaper published.
Please see what I wrote below:
I am a South East representative for a young campaigner’s network called Trailblazers; this is part of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and is designed for people aged 16-30. Each of us Trailblazers has or has an interest in muscular dystrophy or a neuromuscular condition. We campaign to sort out any disability issues that may be on the agenda, such as transport at present and are currently in the middle of completing surveys to see where and what the problems are. Problems include the steps being too high to climb or there being no wheelchair access.
Upon reading the article about the new train station, I wondered if anybody had thought that it might have made more sense to make sure that the current Aylesbury station provided adequate facilities for all, before money was spent on a new station.
As you might not be aware Chiltern Railways current policy is for a disabled person to ring 24hours in advance of their journey to get assistance on or off the train at Aylesbury station as there is no lift service. Through my own experiences I believe that this is not a satisfactory service, as I think this takes away my freedom to travel at will.
Currently I have to stick to the times arranged 24hours in advance. If the right facilities, for example a lift were installed I would able to leave and enter the station without assistance.
As well as this I have previously asked for assistance in advance, but sometimes I’ve either been ignored or been told that somebody would help in a couple of minutes. 15 minutes later there has still been no help. I know this is not uncommon and takes place across the country.
When at college I was always taught that the customer is the priority and their needs come first. It’s great that Aylesbury has a new station but personally I believe that the old station should have been made accessible to all first.
Finally my question is one of equality. Why should any disabled person have to wait around for assistance or have to ring 24 hours in advance to use a station? If money is being spent on new stations let’s make sure people abide by the law and spend some money on making old stations accessible too.