First Great Western criticised over disability provision | West Country (W) – ITV News

For most of us taking a journey by public transport is something we take for granted – but for many disabled people it can be a real challenge. Most firms do their best to help, but often there’s only provision for one wheelchair at a time.

Bodmin councillor and disability campaigner Pete Skea took ITV Westcountry along as he went with two friends from his home town for a day out in Truro. His cereal palsy means he needs a wheelchair. He wanted a day out with another wheelchair user and a friend in a mobility scooter.

The train has allocated space for just one wheelchair. Pete’s friends were provided with specially adapted taxis to get them to their destination, paid for by the train operator First Great Western. It meant they all had to travel apart.

“I applaud British Rail for paying for two taxis for my colleagues, but on the same token it is a great shame that three friends cannot really go out for the day.”

“I understand the railways can’t cater, but I’m thinking why not have seats that can lift out? Why not make one carriage an accessible carriage that you can quickly alter. I don’t think it would be that much in terms of engineering.”

First Great Western says one in a hundred travellers needs assistance and that’s a significant number of customers.

On their Pendolino trains with nine or eleven carriages, Virgin Trains say they have three wheelchair spaces; two in standard and one in first class. The five carriage Super Voyager trains have one in standard and one in first.

“We need to make sure that provision is available and we’re in regular contact with disabled groups across the network to make sure it is up to scratch. That’s not to say there isn’t any more we can do. We’ve got relatively old rolling stock and that does limit us in many ways, certainly on the anch lines”.

Posted in: disability, special needs

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