More than one third of disabled adults report problems using trains

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IN THE last year, more than one third of disabled people say they have experienced problems using trains.

Research by charity Leonard Cheshire found 35 per cent of disabled adults aged 18 to 65 in the UK had faced barriers on rail transport.

Issues included being unable to use train stations because of a lack of step-free access, feeling trapped in the carriage, and not being made aware they were at the right stop.

Chloe, a 30-year-old writer, said only one side of her local train station was wheelchair accessible, which meant when she needed to catch a train to London she had to take a taxi to the nearest accessible station 20 minutes away.

She said: ‘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.’

Leonard Cheshire has launched a campaign calling on the government to make sure that all train operators provide accessible journeys.

Chief executive Neil Heslop described the findings as ‘unacceptable’ and added: ‘Government must address these fundamental issues affecting rail travel for disabled people.’

Robert Nisbet, of the Rail Delivery Group, said: ‘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.’

ComRes interviewed 1,609 disabled adults in the UK, aged between 18 and 65, from June 15 to July 10, 2017. Data was weighted by age, gender and region to be nationally representative of disabled adults of working age in the UK.

A Department for Transport spokesman 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.”