Rail Company Enlists Help From "Mystery" Passenger
OR "Who Was That Masked Wheelchair User?"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 4, 2003
BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND--First Great Western announced last week that it has appointed a Berkshire woman to travel the train network "undercover" to test its facilities for passengers with disabilities.
Kate Green, 26, is described has having "mobility and hearing problems and visual impairments". She will travel as a "mystery shopper" to see how the train system and its 14 stations comply with the rail company's new Disabled Persons Protect Policy. That 24-page policy covers, among other things, accessibility in ticket buying, travel to and within train stations, and restroom facilities.
"Having corresponded with First Great Western on disability issues in the past, I am delighted to be in a position now to gauge what the company is doing well and where it could improve," said Green in a company press release. "The publication of the policy is a real step forward and I will be providing regular feedback to directors and senior managers."
The company noted that it has plans to spend £4 million (about $6.7 million U.S.) to improve accessibility at all of its train stations. The newest fleet of trains already includes a number of accessibility features including high-visibility doors, Braille signs, and buttons to call for assistance installed next to its priority seating, according to a press release.
One wonders, however, how mysterious the "mystery" passenger can be, now that the BBC and other national news services have picked up the story.
Related press release:
"New Disabled Policy and 'Mystery Shopper' for region's rail services" (First Great Western)