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Accessibility

Train companies to miss accessibility deadline

man in his wheelchair at railway station platform waiting for train

Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson said she is ‘bored of being told I need to be patient’ over the issue.

About 800 train carriages on Britain’s railway fail to meet accessibility standards coming into force next year, according to the Government. At least eight rail companies are seeking permission from the Department for Transport (DfT) to continue running non-compliant trains from January 1.

Some have blamed delays in the arrival of new or refurbished rolling stock. It they fail to reach an agreement with the DfT then trains will be taken out of use, resulting in services being cancelled. Legislation for accessibility of mainline trains dates back to 1998, with the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 stating that all trains must be accessible by January 1 2020.

Baroness Grey-Thompson, one of the UK’s most successful disabled athletes, takes about 160 train journeys each year.

She said wheelchair users are often left unable to get on or off trains because a member of staff with a ramp has not arrived, despite assistance being booked. “We just want the same miserable experience of commuting as everyone else,” she joked.

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