ABC is now urgently crowdfunding for our legal action on government accountability and disability rights on Southern Rail.
We are due in court tomorrow, and will be informing you of the exact time later this afternoon, as soon as it is confirmed by the court. In the meantime, leading disability charities have written to us with their strong reactions to our recent revelation of a buried Rail Delivery Group report on rail accessibility.
Our application for a judicial review of the government’s handling of the failed Southern Rail contract has the support and backing of Transport for All, who seek to contribute numerous witness reports and expert testimony to our legal case.
- Catherine Smith, Campaigns and Outreach Officer for Transport for All, said:
“It’s shocking that this damning report was hidden from the public for so long.
“At Transport for All we hear daily from Disabled people who experience discrimination on our railways – it’s truly shameful that the industry would knowingly push ahead with plans that will lock Disabled and older people out of our rail network.”
We have also received valuable input from Muscular Dystrophy UK, and thank their CEO Robert Meadowcroft for his words of support today:
- Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
“We congratulate ABC’s dedicated efforts to tackle the discrimination experienced by disabled rail commuters and are pleased to know that Trailblazers were able to feed in to this great work.
“The report they published yesterday highlights how the government are actively placing disabled people at a great disadvantage by pressing forward with their plans to run driver-only operated trains. Public transport journeys for disabled people are already difficult, being nearly five times longer, more expensive and more stressful than they are for non-disabled people.
“Train companies often require wheelchair users to book assistance in advance, with 24 hours’ notice; yet we know of many stories, of people with muscular dystrophy failing to receive their pre-booked assistance and being left stranded for hours on end.
“Given that disabled commuters already struggle to get the assistance they need, driver-only operated trains will only make this worse.
“The government and transport companies need to put accessibility at the heart of future design and provision of services, including improving the turn-up-and-go system.
“It is clear, these issues need to be resolved as matter of urgency, before another efficiency plan is put into place.”