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Access derailed / 25 October 2008

I was wandering around the various web sites and blogs the other day and came across an article by a young Disabled woman who’d been left on a train after everyone else had got off and apparently forgotten about. She’d sat there for about four hours until cleaners came on the train and found her. I honestly thought that this type of problem was now a thing of the past. How naive could I be?! gap cartoon

The UK’s national rail watchdog has recently undertaken a study of people using the Assisted Passenger Reservation Service (APRS) and has discovered (surprise, surprise) that over a third of people using the service were either not expected at their station of departure, were not met at the station of arrival, or else fell through some black hole and weren’t even known about!

Tony Smith, the chief executive of the Passenger Focus group, who commissioned the study, admitted that Disabled passengers are still being left stranded on platforms with their train departing without them, or being abandoned on trains long after they had expected to be helped off. The research also found that four out of 10 passengers who were given an appointed meeting place at the station were still not met by staff.

The APRS research was carried out across Great Britain using mystery shoppers with various impairments. Smith told reporters: ‘Our mystery shopper’s experienced varied levels of service – from excellent staff assistance, to a mediocre reception, through to no help at all. In one instance a passenger refused to travel again by rail because of poor service from staff.’

It seems that the problem is being caused by poor communication between the various companies and organisations that are involved in the service.

I hope someone explained the reason to that young woman stranded on the train earlier?!

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