Angry ARROW passengers have claimed that a train driver publicly scolded a wheelchair user who asked for a ramp at a station.
The train was stopped at Grand Canal Dock Station at 5.50pm on Wednesday night when the driver made an announcement in what was described as a “barking, annoyed voice” over the intercom aimed at a commuter at the end of the train.
Tara Hanlon, who was on her way home from work on the northbound train, told Dublin Live: “I was wearing my headphones and I heard the sound of the intercom.
“So I took off my headphones and I heard the driver say, ‘If you want the ramp, you have to call in advance. This station is unmanned, so you’re supposed to call in advance if you want the ramp.”
Tara turned to the couple next to her to confirm what she had heard.
She added: “The husband told us that the driver said we were stopped because a person in a wheelchair needs to use a ramp.
“We all looked at each other and were in despair! I was furious.
“I understand that you think in your head that it’s hard to get the ramp out, but to actually turn on the intercom and announce it to the whole train to hear it? I just thought it was super unprofessional and it was really good.
“I do not care if I wait for 30 seconds longer because someone in a wheelchair uses the same service they paid for as everyone else.”
Another commuter, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It was explicitly aimed at the passenger.
“[He said it] with a kind of barking annoyed tone in his voice because we were kept up. I guess it was because they had a hard time getting by.
“I think he mentioned something about someone being with the wheelchair user.
“I did not see anything but some people got off to see if they needed help but they quickly got on again, I guess the wheelchair user must have managed to get off then.”
Tara said she had sent a formal complaint to Irish Rail regarding the incident.
The Irish Rail website states that a four-hour advance notice is required if passengers want to use ramps at the station.
It goes on to say: “[This is] to ensure that staff can be reassigned to assist you on or off our services. “
Tara broke the rule and asked what people who demanded ramps were meant to do if they did not have the opportunity to call in advance.
She said: “It really just takes away their autonomy too. What if you miss your DART and what then?
“I think the Irish Rail has to do something about it. It’s bad enough that it happened and the driver had the attitude ‘oh, you’re the one who bothered me’ when the other person was in a wheelchair.
“I just felt how they dared to treat them that way. [The passenger] just tried to move on in life as if there were not enough places they could not go. “
Barry Kenny of Irish Rail said DART staff can guarantee assistance with four hours notice, but “will always do everything to ensure travel where communication is not possible. In many cases, especially those who travel regularly and need help, assistance is provided with minimal notice “.
He added: “We have asked for further details so that we can investigate the incident described, either directly from the customer involved or from the customer who reported this on social media.
“Of course, all customers should be treated with respect at all times, especially customers who need help.
“While the notification recommendation is significantly shorter than EU rules and than many services in other countries, our goal is to meet the ambitions of disabled customers to work to ensure independent travel.
“During DART +, our new custom fleet will have a retractable ramp that will facilitate independent access for most wheelchair users, and we will also test platform modifications to further improve access. The first of these trolleys will be commissioned from 2025. ”
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