Irish Rail policy for disabled passengers is ‘unacceptable’
DISABLED passengers at unmanned Fingal railway stations are being forced to give four hours notice of their arrival at the station to guarantee they can get on their train. The admission was made by representatives of Irish Rail who addressed a meeting of Fingal County Council recently and said the four-hour notice was an improvement on the 24-hours notice previously required at these local stations.
The Irish Rail officials said the company had an Accessibility Users’ Group where it worked with disability advocacy organisations who the company claimed are ‘ happy’ with the arrangement.
Cllr Tony Murphy (IA) was less happy with the policy and while he acknowledged the four hour window was an improvement on 24 hours, he told the Fingal Independent it was ‘unacceptable to expect passengers to know in advance if the public lift in their train station is working or not’. This would be the only way a disabled passenger could board the train without assistance.
He said: ‘ There could be a sudden mechanical failure or incident of vandalism. I feel that there is absolutely no reason why Irish Rail could not have a contract with a local taxi firm in order to facilitate people with mobility issues who may find themselves stranded in train stations because of an unexpected platform lift failure.’
He said: ‘Irish Rail need to make provisions for all their customers who are entitled to travel on time to their chosen destination.’
Criticism has been levelled at Irish Rail’s disability policy.