Disability Rights Commissioner Stranded At Train Station
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 13, 2006
LONDON, ENGLAND--Bert Massie, chairman of the United Kingdom's Disability Rights Commission, missed a train Thursday night because the rail line failed to help him board before the train left.
Massie, who uses a wheelchair, said later that he had arranged ahead of time with the rail service for an assistant at London's Euston to help him get from the taxi zone to the Virgin West Coast train bound for Liverpool.
But when he arrived -- 20 minutes early -- there was nobody there to help him get to the train.
"There is usually someone waiting for me when I pre-book, but on this occasion there was only a young man carrying luggage at a taxi rank who told me to phone the office," Massie said in a DRC statement.
Massie telephoned the office three times. Finally, the worker on the other end of the phone line told Massie that they had done all they could, and that if he were to miss the train it was "just one of those things. If you miss the train, you miss the train'."
"He then said 'I have other customers' and put the phone down," said Massie, who added that he has sent a letter of complaint to Network Rail.
Network Rail has apologized to Massie. It and Virgin Trains said they are investigating the incident.
The DRC is an independent body established by Parliament to stop discrimination and promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
Massie has served on a number of government advisory committees concerned with transportation and disability including the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee.
"Disability Rights Chairman left stranded at London Rail Station" (DRC)
"Disability chief denied rail help" (BBC News)