Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Stranded wheelchair user calls for better train access

A man from Hampshire who has been left stranded on railway platforms numerous times is calling on train companies to do more to help people who use wheelchairs.

Michael Angus and his brother Brian began filming their attempts to travel across the South by train, after Michael was left stranded at a railway station where there were no staff to help him. He said this has happened a number of times, even though he usually books assistance beforehand.

The two men say that they have become accidental experts in accessibility on the railways. They are so passionate about their campaign that as well as making videos, they have also filled in spreadsheets and a wall chart depicting the different problems Michael has faced on individual journeys.

The brothers' wall chart with icons shows the different issues encountered on various journeys

Michael says that people who use wheelchairs should be able to travel just as freely as anybody else, and not have to feel that they should just stay at home because of the difficulties with transport. He wants there to be more joined-up thinking in the rail industry, and said:

"I don't intend to give in to not travelling as a result of the problems, but it needs the railway lines to be more alert and to communicate amongst themselves and to get it right, they promise it after all.''

– Michael Angus

The Equality Act of 2010, requires all station operators to take reasonable steps to ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled people.

The Department for Transport is calling on all rail operators to improve their support for people with disabilities and older citizenswho want to use their services.

Watch Mary Stanley's report about the brothers' campaign below:

Michael's brother, Brian Angus, said the problems Michael has faced have been varied:

"From the pre-booking failing, to there being no ramp on (onto the train), to a loo not working, can't get the concessionary tickets that he should be able to get on the train. There are a whole range of reasons why Michael's journey is ruined and it predictably goes wrong."

Southern Railway has apologised for falling short of the standard that the firm sets for itself with regard to accessibility for passengers who have disabilities.

"We are committed to making our train services accessible for everybody, so if something goes wrong we will work hard to avoid further mistakes. We are very sorry that Mr Angus had problems arranging the support he needs from us on several journeys this year, when we fell short of the high standard we set ourselves. Our accessibility manager is ensuring that all our on-board, station and booking teams are fully aware of and meet their responsibilities to our passengers."

– Southern Railway

South Western Railway has also apologised and says that it is working to improve Michael's experiences of travelling on its trains.

“We are sorry about the service Mr Angus has received. We have been in regular correspondence with him and have met him on several occasions to discuss his experiences. We are also arranging another meeting with him.

“We are committed to providing a more inclusive service and improving accessibility. This includes plans to install lifts at Pokesdown Station. We are also working with Network Rail to secure additional funding from the Government’s Access For All programme to improve accessibility to stations across our network.

“We have made improvements to our passenger assist programme and are trialling a new app to make travelling easier for customers with accessibility requirements. We have also appointed a dedicated Accessibility Manager to ensure that the needs of our disabled customers are considered at every level of the organisation.”

– South Western Railway Spokesperson

Michael is due to meet with representatives from South Western Railway to discuss his concerns next month.