Disabled woman ‘humiliated’ as station staff thought she was drunk

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A woman unsteady on her feet due to arthritis was denied rail travel after station staff mistook her disability for her being drunk.

When the passenger in her 30s stumbled at the station, staff “observed her” and told her she was unfit to travel. The employees at Moorfields Station in Liverpool city centre “made an assumption” she was drunk.

The woman was left “embarrassed and humiliated” after the remark, said on Saturday, February 4, after the woman spent the afternoon in the city.

Speaking to Liverpool Echo, she said: “I was told they had been observing my movement and was deemed unfit to travel. I was completely shocked at first, I didn’t really know how to respond.

“They were very dismissive about my disability and seeing my blue badge. I was so embarrassed and humiliated.

“I told them to view the CCTV of me arriving at the station around 1pm and they would have seen there wasn’t much difference in my walk. I could not believe that they immediately made an assumption that I was drunk without asking if I need assistance or if I had a disability.”

The woman is registered disabled and recently had a hip replacement.

She has now decided to boycott Merseyrail, which operates the busy station.

“Better staff training is required there to prevent anyone who has a mobility issue from being accused of being drunk,” the passenger added.

I have suffered for nearly 20 years, since the age of 19. Having a deteriorating disease that massively affects your day-to-day life has taken me years to come to terms with.

“Never have I ever had anything negative happen like this for being disabled. It has had a detrimental effect on me and it’s unlikely that I will ever travel with Merseyrail again.”

A Merseyrail spokesperson said: “Merseyrail station staff are trained in our clear TravelSafe policy, which ensures the safety of passengers travelling on our network as well as our staff.

“Our staff are also trained to identify hidden disabilities as part of this. Staff use this training and their judgement based on what they can see and hear in the moment to make a decision. This is often a very difficult decision to make.

“In this particular case, we are satisfied that a senior manager when asked by a colleague, reassessed the situation and cleared the passenger to travel.

“The passenger was accompanied to the platform to ensure she safely boarded her train. We are committed to the best care possible for our passengers and apologise for any upset that may have been caused.”

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