Disability campaigners are calling on train operators to make it easier for passengers with mobility, visual and other impairments to travel at short notice.
In London disabled passengers can get assistance with boarding Tube and London Overground trains at any time thanks to Transport for London’s ‘turn-up-and-go’ policy.
In contrast, mainline train companies require disabled passengers who require help to pre-book assistance 24 hours in advance of their journey.
Transport for All says the current policy is “a major barrier to being able to travel with equality and freedom” and wants operators to adopt the same approach as TfL.
Campaigns Coordinator Lianna Etkind said: “Requesting disabled passengers to give 24-hours notice to use the trains is discriminatory, outdated and must go.
“Turn-up-and-go assistance is a long overdue measure that will allow us to travel with the same freedom and independence as everyone else. Rail companies need to get a move on and make this happen.”
Although train operators trialled turn-up-and-go assistance at several London stations last year, none have yet introduced it. However the Association of Train Operating Companies says it plans a “bigger” trial later this year after which operators will review the situation.
David Sindall, head of disability and inclusion for ATOC said: “Record numbers of disabled people are now travelling by train and with around 99% simply turning up at the station without pre-booking, they are increasingly confident that they will get the support they need.
“The industry is determined to improve and continue to see more people with disabilities travelling by train. That’s why we’re about to launch a bigger turn up and go trial for London to help provide the increasing numbers of disabled rail passengers with an improved travel experience.”