Ely and East Cambridgeshire public transport spokesperson, Steven O’Dell writes: “I am particularly pleased for people with disabilities who rely on ticket offices to help them buy a ticket and to provide essential travel information”.
“Ticket offices offer vital support. Staff there know about the full range of tickets and special offers and it’s a fixed spot to receive advice on routes, get help in navigating the station and overall to feel confident in making journeys.
“If you have problems with your sight, using ticket machines isn’t an option. If you are using a wheelchair, hunting around the station for a member of staff is tiring. If you need help boarding the train, it’s an issue if you have to wait an hour or so for someone to come from another station.
“It’s no wonder that three quarters of a million people responded to the consultation on ticket office closures and that 99% of them were against the plans.
“I hope yesterday’s announcement is a step towards recognising that spontaneous travel is fundamental to the rights of disabled people. Locally we already see many local stations with no staff and no support for disabled passengers.
“My own research shows a mixed pattern for residents of East Cambs. At least many of the Greater Anglia services have a conductor who is able to help passengers on and off the train at stations like Dullingham, Kennett, Newmarket, Shippea Hill and Soham.
“Littleport station is served by driver only trains, so assistance relies on staff being sent from elsewhere.
“Three of our local stations do not even provide a ramp to help passengers alighting or embarking, these are Dullingham, Littleport and Soham.
“All stations have an induction loop for announcements.
“If we want to encourage more people to use public transport it needs to be convenient and safe. I’m calling on the rail companies to make sure that public transport is truly accessible to all the public.”
LABOUR FACT FILE
- Figures for turn up and go assistance provided here https://abcommuters.com/
- Information taken from National Rail website https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/default.aspx
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