Tranz Metro Apologizes For Crawling Incident
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 29, 2004
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND--The head of Tranz Metro has apologized to Tim Dempsey for an incident in which Dempsey was forced to crawl onto an Auckland commuter train on his hands and knees.
"He said it was totally unacceptable and basically the train manager had made a bad call on that day," Dempsey said of his meeting Tuesday with Tranz Metro general manager Paul Ashton.
More importantly for Dempsey, however, was Ashton's commitment to provide training for staff on how to be more attentive to accessibility concerns of passengers with disabilities.
Dempsey, the Muscular Dystrophy Association's national fundraising manager, was told the previous weekend by the Sturges Road station manager that he could not use a wheelchair ramp to get onto the commuter train. The station manager said it was too late to get a ramp because the train was running five minutes behind.
Dempsey, who has muscular dystrophy, does not yet use a wheelchair, but does use a walking stick to help him climb steps.
Two days after the story of his situation hit the news services, Dempsey was disappointed again when train staff brought a metal ramp for him to use, but were unable to install it correctly.
"They put it around backwards - it couldn't be clipped in properly," Dempsey explained.
Dempsey and Ashton agreed to meet within the next month to discuss training on disability and accessibility issues. Aston said that all on-train staff who had direct contact with customers would take part in the training.
The Human Rights Commission is scheduled to begin public hearings into accessibility of public transportation in July.