According to a story in today’s Metro, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has told staff not to help disabled people on to trains if it might delay the service.
Muscular Dystrophy UK has responded to the report, and is now urging Govia Thameslink Railway to work with our Trailblazers to prioritise accessibility for disabled passengers.
Govia Thameslink Railway denying assistance to disabled people to avoid delays is nothing short of discrimination.
“Muscular Dystrophy UK, which has campaigned for improved services and accessibility, regularly hears stories from its supporters about poor facilities at stations and pre-booked assistance being unavailable. In its End of the Line report, Trailblazers – our national network of 700 young disabled people and their supporters – found that 15% had experienced harassment and verbal abuse, while a quarter said their local train station was not accessible. So it is hugely disappointing to read about Govia Thameslink Railway’s new advice to staff, which demonstrates that some rail companies still have a way to go before they are accessible to all.
“Disabled people use trains like everyone else, to get to work, meet friends or enjoy a day out. We suggest Govia Thameslink Railway reconsiders its approach, and we would also urge the company – and all operators – to work with Trailblazers to prioritise accessibility for disabled passengers.”
Nic Bungay, Director of Campaigns, Care and Information
Trailblazers has now moved to pan-disability charity Whizz-Kidz (September 2020).