Essex

Wivenhoe wheelchair user's 'freezing' four-hour wait for cab

Hollie-Anne Brooks Image copyright Hollie-Anne Brooks
Image caption Hollie-Anne Brooks waited for four hours for a taxi at Colchester railway station

A wheelchair user was left waiting hours in the "freezing cold" at a train station after her rail replacement taxi failed to pick her up, she says.

Hollie-Anne Brooks has to pre-book the service through Greater Anglia to take her to Wivenhoe from Colchester, as her home station is not fully accessible.

She had no way of making the six-mile (9.7km) journey home until transport arrived four hours later, at 03:00 GMT.

Greater Anglia said it was "very sorry that Hollie had such a bad journey".

Ms Brooks, 30, said she intends to take legal action against the train company.

The disability activist said she arrived at Colchester from London at about 23:15 on Tuesday.

She said she had booked the wheelchair accessible taxi 24 hours in advance and when it was not there, she spoke to a member of staff to see if they could help.

By that time she had missed the last bus and the replacement cab that was called out broke down en route, she said.

'No medication'

Ms Brooks said the staff member tried to get her a room at the nearest hotel, but that was fully booked.

She posted videos, showing her crying at the station, on Twitter.

"I didn't have my medication, it was freezing cold, I felt so alone and heartbroken," she said.

"It was an absolute farce."

Image copyright Contributed
Image caption Ms Brooks said she was taking legal action against Greater Anglia

Ms Brooks said a taxi sent from Ipswich, 18 miles (29km) away, arrived at the station at 03:00 and dropped her home at about 03:15.

The taxi service is provided as part of Greater Anglia's disabled passenger protection policy.

But Ms Brooks said: "Train companies are failing passengers across the UK.

"The policies are in place but the reality of what those policies say and how they are connected are worlds apart."

Step-free access grant

Juliette Maxam, from Greater Anglia, said: "We want to meet [Ms Brooks] to talk to her about what happened".

She also said the firm will investigate the case and confirmed it had applied for a grant for step-free access at Wivenhoe station.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia added: "Our staff did all they could to help Hollie-Anne complete her journey keeping her as warm and comfortable as possible while she waited in the customer service office with a hot drink."

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