An MP has criticised the Government after a law change that would force railways stations to meet disability access standards was voted down in Parliament.
Lib Dem MP Tim Farron put forward an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which would legislate to make all UK railway stations meet disability access standards.
However it was voted down at committee stage and North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has since criticised this decision, saying she was ‘disappointed’ by MPs’ actions.
Ms Morgan said: “It is outrageous that disabled people are not able to travel by train like people who are fully mobile. It is difficult enough travelling by public transport in north Shropshire without these added accessibility barriers.
“I’m disappointed and surprised the Conservative MPs on the Bill committee voted against the amendment but remain optimistic that Network Rail will see sense and make the station accessible.”
“I continue to liaise with all of the relevant organisations involved and am working to speed up the bid process as much as possible.”
The amendment would have led to changes at stations like Whitchurch where anyone wishing to use Platform 1 currently has to manage 44 steps and a footbridge.
This means disabled people and those with mobility issues are not able to board trains heading towards Shrewsbury or get off any services arriving at Platform 1.
There are other stations with accessibility problems up and down the country, Helen says, worsening the already poor public transport links that exist in rural areas like North Shropshire and Tim Farron’s Cumbria constituency.
Explaining his proposals during the Levelling Up Bill Committee in Parliament, Tim Farron said: “It is outrageous that just because these are not huge main line stations they are inaccessible for many people in our community.”
“New Clause 66 seeks to prevent the kind of bidding game that we will always lose because the station is too small.
“It makes it compulsory for there to be direct decent access to railway stations for people with disabilities and other mobility issues.”
Tim put the amendment to a vote, however it was defeated by eight votes to six with not a single Conservative MP voting in favour.