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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Disabled woman left on platform
Anita MacKendrick
Anita MacKendrick was travelling to a hospital appointment
A South West train operator has been criticised for refusing to allow a disabled woman with a mobility scooter to use its service.

Anita MacKendrick from Ryall in west Dorset contacted South West Trains three weeks ago and was told there would not be a problem.

But when she arrived at Axminster station in Devon, Ms MacKendrick was told she could not get on the train.

She said: "They wouldn't even let me take the scooter to pieces."

Ms MacKendrick explained: "The vehicle breaks down to five small pieces that I could get on the train myself.

"It's no more than three or four suitcases."

As a result of the incident Ms MacKendrick missed an important hospital appointment.

She was due in London to see a specialist at St Thomas's Hospital.

For reasons of weight, size, manoeuvrability and safety, South West Trains does not carry powered scooters
South West Trains statement

Despite phone calls to the train operator the service left without her and she missed her hospital appointment.

Ms MacKendrick, who is registered disabled, contracted polio as a child and has a wasted right leg and had her left knee replaced last year.

In a statement South West Trains defended its policy.

It said: "For reasons of weight, size, manoeuvrability and safety, South West Trains does not carry powered scooters on its services and all staff are fully briefed on this policy.

"We are therefore currently investigating how Ms MacKendrick came to be advised otherwise and regret the inconvenience caused. "

Ms MacKendrick said the company should change its policy.

She said she is now facing a long wait for her hospital appointment to be rescheduled.


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