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A third of disabled people struggle with train services

A Southern train
A Southern train

A leading disabled charity’s survey has revealed 35% of disabled train passengers aged between 18 and 65 have had difficulty using national train services – and that’s without the delays!

Research, carried out by Leonard Cheshire, found a percentage of people with disabilities felt trapped in their carriage, had problems with a lack of step-free access and were not noticed when they reached their station.

Thirty-year-old Chloe complained that only one side of her train station is access-friendly, so when she wants to catch a train to London she needs to jump in a cab to the closest accessible stop.

She told Portsmouth’s The News: ‘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 a member of staff on the platform and I panic.

‘You feel stranded and completely helpless. It’s so stressful and exhausting.’

Chief executive of Leonard Cheshire, Neil Heslop, said the: ‘Government must address these fundamental issues affecting rail travel for disabled people.’

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: ‘Passengers with disabilities must have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society, and it is essential that the services they rely on are accessible and work for them.

‘We expect all train companies to do everything possible to ensure that all passengers, including disabled passengers, can turn up and go when using public transport.”

Rob Nisbet from the Rail Delivery Group added: ‘We want everyone to be able to benefit from the opportunities travelling by train opens up and are sorry when anyone has a bad experience travelling by train, particularly disabled people.

‘As part of our plan to change and improve, we’re working together with disability groups to improve accessibility and investing in projects that will improve our service, including trials of a new assistance app and installing more lifts and ramps at stations.’

Swiss Railways provide the best access for disabled passengers according to The Great Train Comparison Report.