Disabled woman left in ‘cold corridor’ after Greater Anglia provide no wheelchair space
PUBLISHED: 16:58 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:50 22 November 2018
A wheelchair user was left feeling “degraded” after spending two hours in a cold train corridor when no wheelchair space was provided.
Anna Wall, 24, arrived at Norwich station on Tuesday afternoon for the 2.30pm service to London but was told by a guard there was no wheelchair space on the train.
Miss Wall, who is an English literature PhD student from Norwich, had to be in London for a meeting at 5pm and was “annoyed” when staff suggested she got another train.
She said she is fed up of train companies assuming “disabled people don’t have jobs or somewhere to be” and can just get a later service.
There is normally wheelchair space in the first class carriage, which she pays a standard fare for, with two big spaces.
Greater Anglia has since apologied and said it was due to a “defective carriage which has been taken out of service for repairs” and said they “always respect” their customers’ wishes.
In a tweet to the company, Miss Wall said it was “four degrees in Norwich and due to no wheelchair space on this train I’m spending the next two hours in a corridor between carriages”.
Paralympian Tanni-Grey-Thompson, who also campaigns for better transport access for disabled people, replied and wrote: “That’s horrible.”
Miss Wall said: “I’m a full time wheelchair user so can’t get out and sit down somewhere and there was no accessible toilet either.
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“The thing that really annoys me is people assume I can just get a later train and that disabled people don’t have jobs or somewhere to be.
“I had to sit in a cold corridor to London for two hours and it was really degrading and made me feel like a second class citizen.
“Everyone else turned left to a warm carriage and I was left will all my stuff around me and no plugs or table to get work done - it’s not how I should be treated.”
Miss Wall admits things have got better in recent years as when she was younger and needed to go to the hospital she would have to travel in the luggage compartment, but says there is still a long way to go.
A Greater Anglia spokesperson said they had offered Miss Wall compensation, and were fixing the defective carriage.
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“We want to make it easy for people with disabilities to travel with us and, although staff may suggest travelling on an alternative train if their planned one fails to meet their needs, we will always respect our customers’ wishes and do our best to get them to their destination,” they said.
In September, Norwich comedian Tanyalee Davis was left in tears in July after a member of staff on Great Western Railways insisted she move her mobility scooter from the disabled space for a woman with a pram.
After the clip went viral, she is now voluntarily trialling Greater Anglia’s new Uber-style Passenger Assist app which will enable communication directly with railway staff and wil be rolled out nationally in 2019.