By Jack Thomson
SCOTLAND’S attitude to disabled public transport users is moving backwards, according to campaigners.
Access at train stations is often restricted and wheelchair users have complained that they are being forgotten by staff.
During much of its redevelopment Glasgow Queen Street’s lower level platforms were not accessible for those with mobility scooters or wheelchairs because lifts were out of bounds. Stirling’s railway station has platforms that are not step free with no alternative access provided.
Susan Archibald is a disability rights campaigner, who suffers from a chronic pain condition that has caused paralysis in her right leg. She slammed the state of public transport access in Scotland.
“We should be able to turn up and go, the same as everybody else, but it doesn’t work like that,” she said.
Speaking of her experience with staff, she added: “They say, ‘Sit there and we’ll come back,’ before they even put you on the train, and then you’ve missed your train because somebody else has gone away and forgotten about you. It’s just pathetic.
“I think that we’re going backwards instead of forwards. We were going forwards for a long time.”
Scotland’s Accessible Travel Framework was launched in September 2016 to support disabled people’s rights by removing barriers and improving access to travel.
The ten-year plan also states that it aims to make sure that people with disabilities are involved in the work to improve travel.
However, David Brockett, a wheelchair user and student at Glasgow Caledonian University, has said that he is yet to see the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland act on this.
He said: “I think that they can do all the diversity training that they like but unless they have those who are directly affected by these kinds of issues involved in the planning aspect then I don’t think anything is really going to change.”
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government believes in the absolute rights of disabled people to live a life of equal opportunities like any other citizen.
“We have worked closely with disabled organisations and transport providers to produce Scotland’s first Accessible Travel Framework which aims to improve accessibility for disabled people across all modes of transport.”