"Transpennine Express have sunk to a new low and it stinks” was the reaction from Hugo Fearnley, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Scarborough and Whitby to the plans to limit travel for wheelchair users on more than a third of train services out of Scarborough.
“How can they so blatantly tell the around 2000 disabled people in our area that wheelchair users will only be able to use certain trains? How can they have the nerve to turn away those wheelchair users telling them to wait until the next train - with no guarantee that even that one will be able to take them?”
“Have Transpennine Express not heard of the Disability Discrimination Act?”
“And what is Robert Goodwill doing about it? He was a former Transport minister in this Conservative Government. Don’t tell me he hadn’t heard about it before it was announced as leaked documents suggest the government had advance notice. And even if he hadn’t heard, he has the access and influence to stop this callous move. But he’s done nothing!”
Tim Vasey, Manager of Scarborough Disability Action Group (DAG) explains how “those with impairments are already at a disadvantage generally in society and this move will simply exacerbate an already bad situation for many people. Transport is really the key to unlocking other areas of one’s life, in terms of one’s work and leisure activities. Disabled people have struggled for many years to gain equality, this move by the train operator amounts to social exclusion and is an unnecessary, retrograde step.”
“I am not prepared to stand idly by”, said Mr Fearnley
“I will be meeting with Disability Groups to co-ordinate a campaign to reverse these plans”
"I am, today, raising the matter with Labour’s transport team and encouraging them to meet our local disability groups to hear at first hand the hardship that these damaging proposals will cause.”
“And I am not stopping there”, said Mr Fearnley.
“I will also be campaigning to elect a Labour government that will take the railways back into public ownership so that rail priorities are driven by providing a public service - not the need to make a quick buck”.