Brent Central MP Dawn Butler takes trip with disabled campaigners to witness their public transport woes
PUBLISHED: 06:45 08 September 2015 | UPDATED: 14:49 10 September 2015
Dawn Butler MP got an "eye-opener" to the frustrations of being a disabled person on public transport when she took a trip from Wembley to Westminster with a group of campaigners last week.
Dawn Butler MP got an “eye-opener” to the frustrations of being a disabled person on public transport when she took a trip from Wembley to Westminster with a group of campaigners last week.
The Brent Central MP joined 16 elderly and disabled members of the Brent Transport Action Group for the two-hour journey on Wednesday afternoon.
The campaigners highlighted their regular battle to get a driver to lower his bus for disabled ramp access as well as the added complications of travelling by tube when stations have raised platforms or no step-free access.
Once they had arrived at Westminster tube station the travellers were surprised to find the ‘turn up and go’ station attendants they had requested by phone were nowhere to be seen but with the help of the MP they were able to make it to the House of Commons on time for a tea and biscuits reception.
Currently disabled travellers are required to call train stations 24 hours in advance of their journey to ensure someone is there to help them but Brent Transport Action Group is calling on TFL and national rail networks to offer them more flexibility by providing “turn up and go” station staff.
Lorna O’Sullivan, 61, a former polio sufferer from Willesden used the opportunity to show the MP the difficulties she faces using a scooter to get around London.
She said: “It is definitely difficult for me to go anywhere because of my scooter, which is too big to fit on trains or buses.
“Today I had to scoot for half an hour to get to Wembley Park because Neasden station, five minutes from me does not have step-free access- so I can only go shopping in my local area.”
Following the trip, Ms Butler pledged to write to TFL and the Minister for Transport to underline the need for improved access and ‘turn up and go’ across the London bus and Tube networks.
She said: “What shocked me about this journey around Brent and into Westminster with disability campaigners was that the measures that are supposed to help and prioritise disabled users on public transport just aren’t working.”
“I knew it would give me an insight into the problems people in wheelchairs and with other disabilities face. And that’s how it worked out. It was a real eye opener”.