Rail bosses at Southern Rail’s parent group, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), have been accused of “insulting” disabled passengers by ordering staff not to help people with reduced mobility if it will delay the train.
It was also revealed that guidance for employees in the event of somebody having a seizure on a train read: “Explain that your first priority is care for the individual, but not taking action will cause thousands of other passengers to be stuck… Move the ill passenger from the train as quickly as possible.”
This was described as “truly shocking advice” by the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), Mick Cash.
He said of the guidance regarding helping disabled passengers onto a train: “They are introducing a policy which effectively means disabled people will not be assisted on to the train and allowed to travel.”
Mr Cash went on to say that this was “outrageous” and against the Disabled People’s Protection Policy, which requires companies to provide assistance if needed.
Responding to the furore, a spokesperson for Govia Thameslink Railway said that it prioritised making its services accessible for all, but added: “If any passenger – with accessibility needs or not – arrives late at a station with insufficient time to board, then we can’t hold the train at the platform.
“Part of our responsibility is to make sure each service leaves on time to avoid knock-on delays, skipped station stops and cancellations to dozens of other services which would affect thousands of other passengers, many of whom may also be disabled.”
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