A mother-of-two who tried to board a train to Manchester before Christmas was left frustrated and upset by the attitudes of staff who refused to let her on due to her use of a mobility scooter.
Kelly Jenkinson, who was trying to catch the train from Bolton on Tuesday 6 December to enjoy the Christmas markets in the city of Manchester, is multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferer. A recent relapse led to her developing deep vein thrombosis, which has meant that she has had to rely on a scooter to get around.
Whilst Mrs Jenkinson, 34, is pleased with how her disability scooter has increased her mobility, she was left shocked when a member of staff saw her on the train platform and said ‘you’re not using my ramp’. The train subsequently left and Mrs Jenkinson was not able to reach her destination.
Folding scooter would have been allowed
The mobility scooter user told her story in a Manchester Evening News article, which does not reflect well on Northern Rail, the train operator which refused Mrs Jenkinson service.
The MS sufferer told reporters that she checked beforehand that she would be able to take her mobility scooter on board and was informed that there should be no problem facilitating her request.
It now appears, however, that this advice was at odds with Northern’s company policy, which led to Mrs Jenkinson branding staff as ‘very patronising’. She went on to say that it was ‘an awful situation to be in. Their attitude was disgraceful’.
In a statement, Northern Rail reassured passengers that the company is ‘working towards improving accessibility for all’, but that ‘due to the restricted maneuverability and stability of mobility scooters, we do not accept any type of scooter for travel on our services, regardless of size, unless it can be folded and carried on board’.
Fortunately, companies like Monarch Mobility do offer foldable mobility scooters for sale, meaning that incidents like this should not be as widespread in future. However, Mrs Jenkinson insisted that it should not have been an issue in this case, as ‘there are prams that are bigger’ than her scooter, which would have been allowed on board.
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