Disability hate crime rife on Rail transport

By: TUC
Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 13:01 GMT Jump to Comments

The TUC's 'Action for Rail' campaign has revealed that a shocking 1 in 4 disabled rail passengers have suffered hate crime or abuse whilst in stations or trains.

One in four disabled rail passengers has suffered a hate crime or abuse, according to new research published today (Wednesday) by the TUC's Action for Rail campaign.

The poll - of 1,031 disabled people - reveals that over a quarter (27 per cent) of disabled rail users have been targeted while at stations or on trains, with over two-fifths of wheelchair users (43 per cent) and travellers with visual impairments (41 per cent) reporting abuses.

The survey, by pollsters Survation, comes as train operating companies prepare to embark upon a major programme of cuts that Action for Rail fears could see the loss of 7,000 train guards and 7,000 station staff over the next six years.

These plans are deeply unpopular with disabled rail users, the poll reveals. Four-fifths (81 per cent) say reducing staff numbers will make train travel more difficult for them, with one in three (34 per cent) warning the cuts will deter them from making journeys, and in some cases make rail travel impossible.

Action for Rail says the findings show why the government should rethink its plans for the railways, which give train companies until 2019 to reduce staffing costs by £200million and close ticket offices at 650 stations.

If the cuts go ahead Action for Rail is concerned that over seven in ten (73 per cent) of the UK's stations could become unstaffed by the end of the decade, and that all trains would lose their guards.

Action for Rail says the cuts make a mockery of the government's commitment to making the railways more accessible to disabled and elderly people and would put the safety of all commuters at risk.

The poll shows that disabled rail users rank safety and security as the most important service that railway staff provide.

Disabled campaigners will today meet MPs in parliament at 1.30pm to raise their concerns about the cuts and will hold protests against the proposals at 4.30pm outside London's Kings Cross Station.

TUC General Secretary and chair of the Action for Rail campaign Frances O'Grady said: 'These findings are disturbing and show why the government must rethink its plans for the railways. Giving train companies the green light to slash staffing on trains and stations will increase the risk of passengers being verbally and physically abused and will lead to a worse service for everyone.
'No-one deserves to travel in fear or to be left without vital assistance, and these plans make a mockery of the government's commitment to make the railways more accessible to disabled and elderly passengers. Ministers cannot achieve this target if after the cuts we end up with ghost trains and stations.'

Linda Burnip from Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) said: 'These alarming figures back up what we already know - abuse and hate crime is a growing threat faced by many disabled people. We need extra not fewer staff if we want to tackle this problem and this is yet another regressive step being proposed by this government.'

Director of Transport for All Faryal Velmi said: 'Trained and visible rail staff are essential for us to be able to travel confidently. We urge the government to rethink plans to reduce staff numbers, and ensure that disabled and older passengers can use trains with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.'

Comments

Latest

As the Government promises GP practices open seven days a week, 12 hours a day, by 2020, RealityBites discusses…

Open data policies need to become as commonplace as health and safety policies. Opening up needs champions in…

As the recession took hold the public sector was quick to embrace online travel booking. The private sector is…

With optimism slowly but surely returning to the UK economy, many of those organisations that made significant…

English City regions want some of what Scotland's having. Devo Manchester is pushing to the head of the queue.…

The funding crisis in the NHS means we must start a debate on how we can link choices we make to look after our…

Last week’s Scottish independence NO vote brought wider English regional devolution two steps closer. Suppliers…

Every weekday Public Service Intelligence publishes a subscription service focussing on local council news and…

Do you do digital? Take the test

The Information Daily is collaborating with Socitm to research organisations' commitment to and capability for a digital future.

Take the test

View Results

If you have already taken the test, you may view the latest detailed results by entering your email address below


Headline results so far: Results from 108 users

Corporate commitment: 46%
0%
100%
50%
Digital capability: 53%
0%
100%
50%

In January this year, Coverity submitted a series of freedom of information (FOI) requests to all the UK’s…

Margaret Thatcher and Che Guevara would have made an unlikely alliance. But that’s what happened earlier…

Every weekday Public Service Intelligence publishes a subscription service focussing on local council news and…

Every medical professional in the UK, to one degree or another, today faces the challenge of managing a growing…