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Thread: Public transport - a good experience

  1. #1
    Forum Member
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    Public transport - a good experience

    I've recently travelled by train in a wheelchair with two friends. Because of an 'incident' and signal failures our simple one-train journey turned into one involving numerous changes. This necessitated getting into lifts and crossing footbridges to get the right platforms. At each change, the assistance we received from station staff was excellent. There is a very slick system to support wheelchair users and, without fail, staff were efficient, courteous and friendly. Great to be able to report positively!

  2. #2
    Forum Member Terry's Avatar
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    Hi Miranda;

    I would like to use a train but there is potential for so many problems, especially around here.

    Glad to here that they were very good in sorting out you and access for the wheelchair.

    Love Terry

  3. #3
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    Ii is good to hear that things have improved for wheel-chair users on trains. Our experience was not so good.

    I took my husband for a holiday in Paris three years ago. He had recently had a leg amputated and used a wheelchair. We were travelling on the Eurostar and our daughter drove us up to Paddington. The Eurostar was a wonderful experience. They could not have given us better service. We had paid the reduced price offered to disabled travellers and were upgraded. The train staff constantly checked on our comfort and gave us a meal and drinks throughout the journey. It was a wonderful start to our holiday after a traumatic year.

    Paris was great. Our hotel room was small but newly fitted-out for a wheelchair user and the bathroom was luxurious. Paris is flat so we walked/wheeled everywhere. The weather was perfect and we found everyone friendly and helpful. Most of the places we visited were fully-geared for the disabled and entry was free for wheelchair users. We were treated royally at the Louvre and to our amazement were met as we came out of the lift and escorted inside the cordened-off area in front of the Mona Lisa so we got a perfect view.

    We had a great holiday and the trip back on the Eurostar was as equally pleasurable as the outward journey. When we arrived at the station in Paris they had escorted us into the First Class Lounge to wait for our train and given us snacks and drinks. My husband was hoisted onto the train by friendly staff and treated with great dignity.

    Our troubles started when we reached at Waterloo Station for the last leg of our journey home. We had booked the Special Assistance offered by SW train home before we left and had been assured we would receive all the help we needed. However, when we arrived at our platform as advised, no-one wanted to help us. Eventually, they grudgingly brought some ramps and my husband was pushed onto the train, by what appeared to be a very young work-experience girl. The platform staff stood by and chatted as she struggled, but offered her no help.

    Our local station has steps and no lift, so we had been advised, when we booked Assistance, that we would be taken on one more stop, would be helped off the rain and a taxi would be waiting to take us back to our regular station. None of this transpired. There was no help at the station when we arrived to take my husband off and the guard I had frantically found, had to delay the train whilst an emergency ramp was found. The one member of railway staff on the platform suddenly disappeared into thin air andI was left on a deserted platform with my husband in a wheelchair and a suitcase, not knowing quite what to do. We eventually located a lift and got up to ground level. Both the booking offices were closed and there were no staff in evidence. The taxi booth next door had not heard of us and they had no vehicle available that could take wheelchair, so we had a very long wait.

    We arrived home from a wonderful week in Paris very stressed and vowing never to attempt going on a train again.

    I would thoroughly recommend Paris as a holiday destination for an one in wheelchair, using the Eurostar, but suggest that another form of transport is arranged and not to rely on the train. We thought we had arranged for SW trains service in advance but were badly let down. We never did receive a satisfactory explanation or apology from them.

    My husband passed away last Autumn and that week in Paris remains one of my happiest memories. Travelling on Eurostar was outstanding!

    Ann

  4. #4
    Forum Member Barry52's Avatar
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    I travel by train often on the east coast main line which was virgin until July and is now state run by London north east rail. I always had very good assistance by using the online service but this post has made me nervous. I travel alone and without the assistance I would be stranded. I am using the train later this month so I will report back.

    Barry
    Iím going to do this even if it kills me!

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