Euston, We Have a Problem
Author: Wendy Perez
Wendy Perez wrote this letter of complaint to Euston Station about their failure to help her get off the train. Society becomes closed off to people with disabilities when basic public services fail to make themselves accessible.
I am a person who uses a manual wheelchair and who travels frequently on trains.
On Friday 1st June 2018 I got the 9.03am train to Birmingham from Euston Station to attend a meeting in Birmingham. I did not know by what train I would return to Euston. Two days before the journey I made a telephone call asking for assistance. I quoted the date and time I was going saying I was returning back the same day but did not know what time I was returning, as I didn’t know what time the conference was finishing. So I had an open ticket return (like anybody else who does not know what time their meeting is ending).
Why does someone who uses a wheelchair have no meaningful right to an open ticket? We have to work as well. We can’t leave what we are doing in the middle just to suit the train timetable.
Coming back I got the train from Birmingham to Euston arriving at 7.15 pm. I asked the guard to make sure that Euston knew what cabin I was in, so that I would have assistance when I got to Euston. The person who put me in the train asked the controller by radio to tell Euston that I was on the train.
Arriving at Euston nobody was there to help me get out of the train. I phoned my mum who was at the station waiting for me, she went to the mobility assistance office and told them that I was in the train waiting for help. At the office they insisted I was not on the list, but nevertheless my mum said I had an open ticket and that Birmingham had informed Euston by radio that I was on that train.
They sent the buggy knowing that I could not get into the buggy, they know I use a manual wheelchair. Once out of the train the buggy driver refused to push me up to the station. I had to call my mum to come and push me. (My mum is 79 years old.)
The driver refused to help, saying he had a backache. Surely the people who do this job should be able to help people in a wheelchair who cannot get into a buggy. This is not the first time that it has happened. In fact it has been the case every time at Euston - that is why I am reporting it.
Other stations do provide help and do have someone waiting to get me out of the train and push me to who I am meeting or to the taxi stand - whether I get there on time or not. Why cannot anyone at Euston help me?
Why is Euston not able to help people who use a wheelchair and who cannot get into the buggy?
I do hope something will be done about this. We disabled people should be allowed to travel when we want and not go through this all the time.
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
Euston, We Have a Problem © Wendy Perez 2018.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.