Station staff laugh at disabled woman crawling up steps
Staff at a London Overground have been called out after they laughed at a disabled woman crawling up the stairs because the lifts were not in operation.
Jennie Berry, a disability blogger and wheelchair user, found herself ‘stuck’ at Dalston Junction on Thursday night, she could not spot anybody to help, so had to pull herself up the flight of steps.
When she was three steps to the top a member of staff arrived to tell her that the lift was not working.
They asked: ‘Didn’t you know?’
Berry told Metro Online: ‘I explained I’m not from here and, surprisingly, I don’t keep a log of functioning lifts in London.’
‘At the top of the 15-minute climb, the lift technician decides to announce that he’s actually got the lift working.’
‘The two staff members behind me think this is hilarious and you can hear them laughing on the video about it.
‘I literally just wanted to get back to my hotel before a busy day of work like everyone else.’
On Sunday Up Down London, which monitors lift access on the London transport network, reported step-free access at Dalston Junction was ‘restored’ in the early hours.
But Berry believes more needs to be done to make the network more accessible at all times.
‘As a disabled person, this is a common occurrence and I was lucky enough to be able to do this – but lots of people aren’t,’ she said.
‘To be honest, I’m more annoyed at how staff treated me than the actual fact I had to crawl up the stairs, as at this point I’m used to this level of inaccessibility.
‘The way I’m treated always seems to surprise me the most.’
The campaigner wrote a full account of the incident on her Instagram page with a video of her climbing up the steps which was filmed by her college.
Responding to the footage Transport for London (TfL) said: ‘We are sorry to hear this happened. We take this seriously and will be thoroughly investigating this.’
Research by Transport for All revealed just 92 out of 272 London Underground stations provide step-free access.
Mark Evers, the transit agency’s chief customer officer, told Metro.co.uk: ‘We’re deeply sorry for the distressing experience that Jennie Berry had while travelling with us and we are urgently looking into this incident with Arrival Rail London, who operates the London Overground on our behalf, to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
‘We understand that lifts being out of service can have a significant impact on customers who rely on them, and we are committed to making transport in London more accessible.
‘We are also working harder to ensure that lifts are repaired quickly and that information about their availability is published promptly. I regret that in this instance the necessary information wasn’t readily available.’
A spokesperson for Arriva Rail London: ‘We are aware of a video on social media which shows a London Overground passenger unable to use the lift at Dalston Junction station. We apologise sincerely for the upsetting experience that the passenger had whilst travelling on the London Overground network.
‘We have instigated a thorough investigation and will ensure that appropriate action is taken to ensure that this does not happen again. We pride ourselves on offering as accessible a service as possible to passengers and are deeply sorry that this was not upheld in this instance.’
[ Almost two in 10 disabled people say they can never use the London Overground because it is not accessible. ]