Wheelchair user angry at train operator

A WHEELCHAIR user was left in tears when she was told she could not travel on a train because there was not enough room for her.Susan Foster, who is regular traveller on One rail services on the East Suffolk line, was trying to board a train at Lowestoft station for her journey home to Halesworth.

By David Lennard

A WHEELCHAIR user was left in tears when she was told she could not travel on a train because there was not enough room for her.

Susan Foster, who is regular traveller on One rail services on the East Suffolk line, was trying to board a train at Lowestoft station for her journey home to Halesworth.

But a conductor refused to allow her on to the train, even though there were no other wheelchair users in the space provided in the carriage.


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“I could not believe what was happening to me as the conductor said I had to get off,” said Mrs Foster.

“I began arguing with him as there were no other wheelchair users on board and I found it so upsetting that I began to cry.”

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Other passengers joined in the discussions and eventually the conductor relented and Mrs Foster was allowed to travel on the train.

“I was still shaking when I arrived home and I have put in a complaint to One. Only a few weeks ago I had filled in a survey form from the train company and said how well I was being treated,” she said.

“I have only just been having enough confidence to travel on my own but this has come as a big shock to me and I will probably want to have someone with me from now on.”

“It is not as though my wheelchair is particularly large as it is quite a small electric chair and there was room for me in the space on the train. I am still at a loss to explain why there was so much fuss.

She said she had decided to put in an official complaint to One as she did not want anything similar happening to another disabled person in the future.

A spokeswoman for One apologised to Mrs Foster and said the matter was being investigated further.

“The problem arose because there was another passenger already in the seat that can be folded up to make room for a wheelchair who refused to move because her baby was asleep,” she said.

“The conductor found himself in a difficult position as he was trying not to upset any of the passengers but he could not let Mrs Foster stay in the aisle with her wheelchair.

“It was only when another passenger who knew the woman who had refused to move persuaded her to find another seat on the train that the situation was resolved and Mrs Foster was able to travel on the train.”

The spokeswoman said the conductor would not have left Mrs Foster stranded at Lowestoft station but would have paid for a taxi to take her home to Halesworth at the company's expense.

“We will be contacting Mrs Foster and respond fully to her complaint,” she added.

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