Bristol

Bristol Temple Meads wheelchair user left stranded on train

  • 21 February 2014
  • From the section Bristol
Kayleigh Millar
Kayleigh Millar needs assistance to get on and off trains

A teenager has called for better treatment of disabled passengers after being stranded on a train in Bristol.

Wheelchair user Kayleigh Millar was unable to get off the train and feared it would leave with her still on it.

After 15 minutes Kayleigh, 17 and from Devizes, Wiltshire, "panicked" when her booked assistance did not turn up at Temple Meads.

First Great Western said her experience "clearly wasn't good enough" and apologised.

"Our investigations are continuing, but as far as we are concerned this looks like a breakdown in communication between our team at Bristol Parkway and our team at Temple Meads - a simple case of human error," spokesman Dan Panes said.

He said new members of staff had been hired to look after the needs of disabled passengers better.

'Not acceptable'

More than a third of disabled travellers have reported difficulties when travelling by train according to the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability.

"Although the rail network is more accessible than it used to be there is still a huge way to go," said head of policy and campaigns Guy Parckar.

He said Kayleigh's experience is all too common and "it is simply not acceptable" that the public transport system still fails people.

Kayleigh Millar
First Great Western have promised to hire more staff to help disabled passenger

Kayleigh said it was the attitude of the staff on the train who "weren't really bothered" which really shocked her.

"Better staff training is the key to improving attitudes towards disabled passengers," said Mr Parckar and it can "transform the experience" of disabled people travelling on public transport.

For many disabled people, travelling by public transport is "not a luxury, it's a necessity", he said.

"Without it people can face isolation and unaffordable costs," he added.

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