Page last updated at 12:56 GMT, Sunday, 18 May 2008 13:56 UK

'Progress' over Metro scooter ban

Metro train
The ban was imposed after two accidents within nine months

A review is under way into a ban on mobility scooter users using Tyne and Wear's Metro network without a helper.

The restriction was imposed after two scooter owners crashed through train doors and onto the tracks.

An initial meeting has taken place between operator Nexus and disability groups in a bid to find a solution.

The firm has now agreed to investigate several areas, including the establishment of a pool of volunteer escorts and the use of portable ramps.

However, the restriction will remain in place for several months while the assessment continues.

The review was prompted by complaints from disabled passengers concerned that the ban would rob them of independence.

Bernard Garner, director general of Nexus, said: "We have made a good start in addressing this very sensitive issue.

'Powered scooters'

"It is clear there is a wide understanding of why Nexus had to act to restrict scooter use for the safety of all passengers. We are determined to explore all possibilities, but these must first meet the high safety standards Metro operates within."

A man was rescued by emergency services after plunging onto stretch of track at Howdon station, in North Tyneside on 24 April.

Last year, an elderly woman on a mobility scooter crashed through train doors and onto the Metro track after boarding a train at Brockley Whins station, South Tyneside.

The woman suffered bruising but was not seriously hurt.

Restrictions apply to powered mobility scooters but not electric wheelchairs.


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