A Wainfleet Care Home has slammed East Midlands Trains’ ‘discriminatory attitude’ towards disabled people after a group of residents were refused travel on a Wainfleet to Skegness service.
Staff had popped along to the station to buy advance tickets ahead of a planned festive day out on the coast.
But when they got there, they were left flabbergasted after railway staff told them the trains couldn’t accommodate so many wheelchair users in one go - allegedly warning that the maximum at any one time was as little as two per train.
Astonished care home staff have now hit out at the rail firm, arguing that such a low number of disabled seats per train is discriminatory - especially in light of the high proportion of retired residents on the coast who have mobility issues.
Denise Taylor, who was one of those organising the event, said: “I was devastated by the news.
“If it weren’t for Red Cabs, who came to our rescue, our whole day would’ve been cancelled.
“It’s discrimination against wheelchairs. They really need to review their policy,” she added.
Other members of staff warned that two disabled spaces is simply not enough, and that given the number of disabled people in the area, there was a very real risk that rail users with wheelchairs could be forced to miss trains at little or no warning.
Luckily the group were still able to enjoy their outing, thanks to Red Cabs, as well as kind help from Seacroft Mobility who loaned the group some chairs.After shopping in Skegness, the group enjoyed some food at the Waterfront before heading back to the care home.
An East Midlands Trains spokesperson said: “We do everything we can to assist passengers with disabilities travelling on our services and we every year we invest over £250,000 on making our stations more accessible.
“However we are limited to the number of wheelchair spaces on all of our trains, including those which operate to and from Skegness. The design of the trains (similar to those which operate on other national rail routes) need to balance the requirement and demand for passenger seating, luggage accommodation (which can be at a premium on this route) and bike spaces, and this does therefore limited the number of wheelchair spaces to two.
“Trains are ordered and built in line with Government and European standards for the number of wheelchair spaces on trains. Usually, on an eight carriage train you will find two or four spaces but the smaller the train, the fewer spaces available. Train companies are required to work within DfT guidelines.
“The country now has one of the most accessible rail network’s in the world and along with the rest of the industry, we are committed to improving things further for all our passengers.’