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Disabled passengers victimised by rail services

a train
a train Image credit: mimsdavies.org.uk

Disabled passengers are being victimised by rail companies because they are unable to reserve seats on busy trains.

There are only a few accessible spaces available for wheelchair users on journeys which can be pre-booked.

But there is no system for disabled people who are not in a wheelchair, to reserve a seat.

In some cases those with limited mobility have been forced to stand for hours onboard busy trains.

Sue Christoforou, from Parkinson’s UK told The Mail on Sunday: 'Others have no option but to spend hundreds of pounds on taxis or private hire cars, or cancel trips entirely, leaving them isolated from friends, family and colleagues.’

The issue was raised by a Scope survey which found out of 3,200 people with disabilities almost a quarter don’t use public transport because of unhelpful services or attitudes problems with staff or fellow passengers.

Louise Rubin, from the charity, said: “People don't always give up their seat – even if they are sitting in a priority-seating spot designated for people less able to stand.”

Out of 23 train operators The Mail on Sunday contacted, only six provided a pre-book service for disabled people who are not in wheelchairs.

The Department of Transport has promised to make all train services fully accessible by 2030.

But the Leonard Cheshire charity says the target is unrealistic and believes it won’t be until 2070 until the changes are made.

Around 3.5 million people travel by train every day in the UK.