Arriva’s Northern rail service have found themselves in hot water after a guard at Salford Crescent train station refused to provide a ramp to allow a young disabled girl board the train.
Scott Parkinson and his wife Kayley were left “embarrassed” when the Northern employee took a public poll on the authenticity of their daughter Evana’s disability buggy, asking the surrounding passengers to weigh in on the disagreement.
Evana’s pram clearly displayed a blue disabled sticker. However, the three-year-old, who suffers with a genetic disability, had to wait for another member of staff to come over in order to resolve the situation.
Mr. Parkinson said: “My wife tried to find the nearest member of staff. She just asked him for a bit of assistance with the ramp for the next train to Wigan.
“He looked the pram up and down and said: “That’s a buggy”, then started asking all the people around him: “Is this a wheelchair or a buggy?”. He told my wife to “shut up”, I asked to speak to his supervisor and he just walked off.”
The family had arranged assistance at every stop between Southampton and their home in Wigan. But, due to the unexpected cancellation of their train from Manchester Piccadilly, they were left stranded in Salford.
Mr. Parkinson continued: “She (Evana) didn’t understand what was going on. Our elder daughter Erica did. The unprofessionalism was just embarrassing.”
Northern have apologised for the incident. A spokesperson said: “We are sorry for the upset or distress our customer experienced following the incident at Salford Crescent.
“We are currently investigating what happened and will speak to the customer again as soon as possible as part of this process.”
“Manual and powered wheelchairs can be taken on all of our trains, and station and train staff will be happy to help customers on and off our services.”
The family are hopeful the issue can be resolved in a timely manor. However, they are still waiting. Evana’s father concluded: “The spokesperson that Kayley spoke to said he would give us a call back in a few days. That was Tuesday and we haven’t heard anything back.”