Portsmouth man’s mobility scooter is banned by First Great Western

113648-005_SCOOTER_SR_14/10/11'Kevin Wooldridge (50) from Paulsgrove who has been told he cannot take his mobility scooter on the train taking his family on holiday.''Picture:Steve Reid 113648-005

113648-005_SCOOTER_SR_14/10/11'Kevin Wooldridge (50) from Paulsgrove who has been told he cannot take his mobility scooter on the train taking his family on holiday.''Picture:Steve Reid 113648-005

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FOR years Kevin Wooldridge has taken his mobility scooter on board trains for use on his family holidays to Devon.

But this year First Great Western told the disabled 50-year-old, from Leominster Road, Paulsgrove, it was too large for its carriages.

Stunned Kevin was told his scooter would block the pathway and could cause the ramp leading up to carriages, which is used by wheelchairs and scooters, to tip over.

It meant Kevin, who suffers with emphysema, had to find alternative transport to get to Cosham train station before setting off to Welcome Family Holiday Park, in Dawlish Warren, with wife Lorraine, 42, and eight others, for a week-long holiday on October 15.

While there Kevin, who forked out £100 for train tickets, had to hire a disabled wheelchair for the day so he could visit west country attraction Paignton Zoo.

Kevin said: ‘We go on the train to Dawlish Warren every year and there’s never been a problem with my scooter being on board. It’s never caused the ramp to tip over. It’s complete rubbish.

‘When we originally booked tickets there wasn’t a problem, but when we rang up the week before we went to confirm I was going to take my scooter, they didn’t like it.

‘I had to get a taxi to Cosham train station rather than meet everyone else there like I normally do on my mobility scooter.

‘I felt that part of the holiday was ruined because it meant I couldn’t travel around the way I wanted.

‘The train staff told me to take a fold-up wheelchair but they’re so slow. I have one but I didn’t take it because it’s unreliable and old.

‘So other than when I hired a scooter at the zoo I had to walk around instead, which was a terrible struggle.’

Dan Panes, a spokesman for First Great Western, said: ‘In previous years it was difficult to assess scooter types. We have now assessed that there are certain types which may cause ramps to tip. Users now have to apply for a permit which proves their vehicle doesn’t exceed new weight restrictions.’

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