Thursday 21 November 2019 / 8:27 AM Disabilities

Labour sets out plans to guarantee a guard on every train to make all rail services accessible for older and disabled passengers.

Labour will end the discriminatory practice of Driver Only Operation on the railway, guaranteeing a second member of fully trained staff on all trains to assist boarding and during the journey so that older and disabled rail passengers can travel when they want with dignity, without booking ahead.

The government’s policy of expanding Driver Only Operation, which removes the guarantee of a second member of staff on board a train, has denied older and disabled passengers of the ability to travel spontaneously by removing the guarantee of assistance, requiring journeys to be booked 24hrs in advance.

Labour will make all rail services accessible to older and disabled passengers by guaranteeing a guard and the availability of assistance across the rail network so that older and disabled passengers can Turn Up and Go.

Marsha De Cordova, Shadow Minister for Disabled People, said:

“The Tories’ expansion of Driver Only Operation is yet another an attack on the rights of disabled passengers who have been denied of the ability to travel spontaneously.

“The railway ought to be for everyone, but Government policy discriminates against and excludes passengers who require assistance boarding trains.

“Labour will guarantee a guard on board every train to guarantee Turn Up and Go across the rail network so that older and disabled rail passengers can travel when they want independently and with dignity, without booking ahead. In addition guards on every train will make train travel easier, safer and more secure for all passengers.”

Racheal Maskell, Labour’s Shadow Rail Minster, said:

“The railway should liberate people and enable everyone to play their full role in our society and economy, but the Conservative Party’s expansion of DOO has knowingly degraded the rights of older and disabled passengers in the face of protests from passenger and disabled people’s groups.

“It is remarkable that the Government and private train companies have pursued this discriminatory policy even when it provoked fierce industrial disputes resulting in significant strike action.

“Labour’s publicly owned railway will be for everyone, not just the able-bodied, which is why we will enable staff to deliver a safe and accessible railway for all.”

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