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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Criticism over disability policy
Rupert Armstrong Evans with disability buggy
Mr Armstrong Evans says the train company's policy is insulting
A disabled man has been told he is not allowed to take his folding disability buggy on First Great Western trains.

Rupert Armstrong Evans, from Cornwall, claims the company's disability policy is ridiculous and discriminatory.

But First Great Western says the Disability Discrimination Act requires it to have a clear policy on travel for people with disabilities.

It says because of the different types and sizes of buggies it is hard to define what is or is not safe.

Policy review

Mr Armstrong said his buggy complied with all the rules for wheelchairs, which are allowed on First Great Western trains.

"I think it's exceedingly insulting to disabled people to turn around and say you can't travel on our trains when there is absolutely no justification for it," he said.

"They're playing with words and using their policy which mentions buggies without any mention of how big they are, what they are, and how they're used. It is absolutely ridiculous. "

A spokesman for First Great Western said the company was reviewing the issue and would be publishing a new policy soon.

In May 2004, South West Trains was also criticised for refusing to allow a disabled woman with a mobility scooter to use its service in Devon.

The company defended its policy on the grounds of weight, size, manoeuvrability and safety and said staff are fully briefed on its policy.




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