Tears As Young Disabled Chiswick Woman Gets Stuck On Tube

Fellow commuters had to pull emergency cord to help her get off the train


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Chiswick resident Lucy Webster has called for action on facilities for disabled people using public transport after being standed on the Tube at Hammersmith in tears because she could not get off the train.

Lucy, (22) who was travelling from Brixton to her home in Chiswick was the victim of a series of blunders, which left her having to stay on the tube until it reached Acton station where passengers eventually pulled the emergency alarm in order for her to leave the train last week.

Describing her ordeal Lucy, who uses a powered wheelchair, said the catalogue of errors first began when she got on the Victoria Line to Green Park- she discovered the lift from the Victoria Line to the Piccadilly Line was out of order.

"This leaves me no option but to get back on the Victoria line to King’s Cross, the next accessible station. At King’s Cross, a member of staff rang ahead to Hammersmith, because they need to put out a ramp for me to get off the train.”

However, she said nobody met her at Hammersmith and before anything could be done the doors were shut and we was on her way to Acton town, the last accessible station on that line for quite a distance. There was no member of staff on the platform as nobody had been told to meet her with a ramp.

Ms Webster claims a friend who was travelling with her, then had to wedge herself in the closing doors while people panicked, trying to find a way to help.

“Eventually someone pulled the emergency alarm. Only then did someone turn up with a ramp."

Her father then collected her by car and took her back to Chiswick. The local station, at Turnham Green, has no step free access.

She added: “Somewhere between Hammersmith and Acton I had begun to cry.This is the reality of being disabled in Britain." She added that the able bodied public needed to help campaign.

"I'm too tired to fight this alone, and there aren't enough of us.

"No one should be made to feel that their body makes them unworthy of the treatment afforded to everyone else. I was also just unspeakably angry.

"Even supposedly simple journeys become complete missions," Lucy, who has cerebral palsy and also has a speech impediment, said. "I simply do not know what would have happened if I had been alone."

When she finally managed to get off the train, she said she was "too distraught" to speak to staff, but that her father – who had driven out to Acton Town from Chiswick to pick her up – had lodged a complaint.

Steve White, Operations Director for London Underground, said: “Lucy’s dreadful experience was totally unacceptable and we are extremely sorry for letting her down. We are urgently investigating what went wrong so that we can learn from it and prevent it from happening again. We will explain what we find to Lucy.

“There is much more for us to do to make services more accessible to all Londoners, including making sure there is always a member of staff available to assist and providing good information when lifts go out of service.

"We are recruiting hundreds more staff to help deliver this and we are also working hard to increase the number of step-free accessible stations on the Tube network.”

In recent months disability campaigners have protested at rail stations around London over the lack of access for disabled and older passengers.

May 11, 2017

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