Network Rail failed to “put passengers first”

Commission says transport company breached its legal obligations in 2019

Looks like “putting passengers first” was not top of mind for a UK transport company.

That’s all part of what Network Rail preaches as its vision on its company website.

The UK transport firm is in some trouble after closing three lifts at the Manchester Victoria Station back in 2019.

That closure forced disabled passengers to drag themselves up the stairs in order to get to their trains.

The disability charity Scope calls it “unacceptable that disabled people have to take a risk with each journey”.

The transport company is apologising following a review conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The commission found that Network Rail breached their legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments for the disabled.

To make amends Network Rail is promising to consult disabled passengers and groups in the future ahead of accessible work

The company’s North West route is entering into a legally binding agreement in order to prevent discrimination against disabled people.

According to North West route director Phil James a lack of available lift engineers is to blame for the closure.

In hindsight, James says that was not the best course of action.

“This was the wrong thing to do and we are deeply sorry for the distress and inconvenience this caused mobility-assisted passengers,” says James.

James Taylor is the executive director for strategy at Scope.

He says it’s unfortunate it had to go this far for action to be taken.

“It also shouldn’t take a legally binding agreement to ensure companies consult with disabled people before making decisions that affect them,” says Taylor.

Taylor adds that the rail industry has already missed “numerous accessibility deadlines”.  (JSL).