Accessibility and the freedom to get around are important to the Quingo team and our customers. That’s why Quingo were taken aback when we read the story of a mobility scooter user from Cumbria who was told by train station staff that Northern Rail didn’t accept mobility scooters on the Carlisle-West Cumbria line.
Denied access despite travelling on the train several times before
Angela Taylor was denied access by rail staff despite having already been allowed onto the train with her mobility scooter on several occasions previously. That very same day in fact, she had used the train to travel north from Maryport, before being barred from the train at Carlisle station.
With no way of returning home, railway staff eventually came to her aid and, after contacting Northern Rail, a disability taxi was laid on.
Mrs Taylor said: “Train passengers tried to reason with the guard, as did the people from Journey Care with whom I always book my travel, but the guard just shrugged his shoulders and said there was nothing he could do.”
What did Northern Rail have to say?
A spokeswoman said that because of the platform arrangements, it did not accept any type of scooter for travel, regardless of size or available space, unless folded and carried as luggage. Northern Rail has now told Mrs Taylor that when she travels with her scooter they will now arrange a taxi.
The spokeswoman added: “We are always working towards accommodating the needs of all our customers and would like to apologise to Mrs Taylor. We will always check what type of mobility aid is being used and, in Mrs Taylor’s case, we would have clearly explained our mobility scooter policy.”
Northern Rail has said it will now brief staff to ensure a consistent approach across the network. Passengers who may require assistance were also urged to contact the rail company in advance.
Do other rail services have similar policies?
Mrs Taylor, who has a damaged spine, said she bought the scooter to give her independence. She added, “I bought a small one with trains in mind. I travel between Maryport and Dumfries probably once a week.”
In addition to this, Mrs Taylor said that she has used other trains, run by Scot Rail and Virgin, without experiencing any problems.
Mrs Taylor said: “I always book through Journey Care, which assists disabled passengers. They ensure any particular service is not overcrowded. On this occasion, the only disabled passengers were myself and a man going to Whitehaven who was in a wheelchair. There was plenty of room.”
The Rules regarding trains and mobility scooters
Accessibility for mobility scooters is improving and train companies as a whole are recognising that mobility scooter users do require access to their services.
A number of companies now run permit schemes for mobility scooters. If you apply for one, you’ll be asked questions about the size and dimensions of your scooter so the train company can decide whether it’s acceptable. As a rule of thumb, your scooter must be class 2 and able to fit into the wheelchair space.
To find out what there is to know about taking your Quingo on a train, take a look at our earlier blogposts. If you’re unsure, we strongly recommend you ring up your local train service to check before planning a journey.
The Quingo Scooter range features six models to suit your needs and budget. New models are now available from just £22/week on our new contract hire scheme which includes all servicing and maintenance, Insurance, Roadside Recovery, Call Outs and Consumables including Batteries and Tyres. For more information on this or the latest Quingo Scooter range, please visit our website. Alternatively, if you have any Service questions you can always contact us or call customer services on 01582 430 900.
Keep up to date with the latest mobility scooter advice, tips and interesting places to visit on the Quingo Scooter Users Blog. Quingo are proud to be working with Age UK. Connect with Quingo and keep up to date with all our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.
All Quingo Personal Mobility Vehicles are provided by Forever Active, the UK’s exclusive distributor. Forever Active is a trading name of Advantage Marketing Corporation Limited (AMC). AMC Limited is an appointed representative of First Senior Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. First Senior Insurance Services FSA Register number is 308478.