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Disabled woman left stranded on Tube in tears after string of blunders by staff

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 11/05/2017 Patrick Grafton-Green

Lucy Webster, left, claims she was left in tears by the experience

Lucy Webster, left, claims she was left in tears by the experience
© Provided by Independent Print Limited

A disabled woman has told how she was left stranded on the Tube in tears after a string of blunders by station staff.

Lucy Webster has called for further action from TfL and wants Londoners, including able bodied people, to lend their voices in calling for better disability access on the Tube after her 'horrible' ordeal.

Ms Webster, who uses a wheelchair, was stranded while travelling home from Brixton last week.

In a moving Facebook post, she wrote how passengers were forced to pull the emergency alarm when she was trapped while trying to get off the train at Acton Town without a ramp.

Ms Webster told how her normal route home involves two trains and a bus, because her normal station is not accessible for her.

She got on the Victoria Line to Green Park to try and change to the Piccadilly line, where she discovered the lift from the Victoria Line platform was out of order.

Ms Webster claims, due to a series of oversights by station staff, she ended up travelling on to King’s Cross and then all the way to Acton Town, where she was unable to get off the train, leaving her in flood of tears.

TfL has apologised to Ms Webster, who works as a journalist, for her “dreadful” and “totally unacceptable” experience, adding that they are “urgently investigating what went wrong”.

On Sunday Ms Webster wrote on Facebook: “I got off the train at Green Park (where the overhead announcement tells of the step free access) to find the lift from the Victoria line platform 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.”

Despite this, Ms Webster said no one met her at Hammersmith.

She said: “Before anything could be done, the doors shut and we were on our way to Acton Town, the last accessible station on the Piccadilly line for quite some distance, where of course no one had been told to meet me with a ramp.

“There wasn't a member of staff on the platform.”

Ms Webster claims a friend then had to wedge herself in the closing doors while others panicked, trying to find a way to help.

“Eventually someone pulled the emergency alarm. Only then did someone turn up with a ramp”, she said.

She added: “Somewhere between Hammersmith and Acton I had begun to cry.

“I'm writing this not for your sympathy but to show you the reality of being disabled in Britain in 2017. And it's not getting better.

Signing off her emotional Facebook post, she wrote: "We need your help. I'm too tired to fight this alone, and there aren't enough of us.

"We need able bodied people to complain when the shop isn't accessible or the pub doesn't have a disabled toilet.

"And right now, I need you to call, email and tweet TfL until they finally act."

“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.

In April, campaign group Transport for All said eight stations across London were "inaccessible", adding that funding for an Access for All scheme had been deferred.

The group called on political parties to restore the funding to make the rail network more accessible. 

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