Wheelchair access row over 100 rail stations

The Scottish Government's new cabinet secretary for connectivity Michael Matheson is now facing a big challenge. ''Picture: John Devlin
The Scottish Government's new cabinet secretary for connectivity Michael Matheson is now facing a big challenge. ''Picture: John Devlin
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More than 100 Scottish railway stations are not fully accessible for disabled Scots, according to official figures.

The Scottish Government’s new cabinet secretary for connectivity Michael Matheson is now facing calls to produce a “major upgrade programme” to ensure that wheelchair users are not missing out.

Figures released by the Scottish Government indicate that 104 stations are not fully accessible, with as many as 30 having platforms which are completely inaccessible to disabled people.

The figures were uncovered by Labour through Parliamentary answers and the party says it underlines the “daily struggle” faced by disabled people travelling on Scotland’s railways.

The party is now calling on the SNP government to ensure more stations are upgraded to ensure everyone can travel on railways throughout the Scottish network.

Labour’s connectivity spokesman Colin Smyth, said: “Our public transport system must exist to serve everyone, but clearly that is not the case currently.

“Too many of our railway stations are not accessible, with many not even having disabled access to a single platform. This is simply not good enough.

“New SNP transport minister Michael Matheson must resolve to bring forward a major upgrade programme to ensure our disabled friends, neighbours and family members can use our railways fully.

“Labour will continue to champion disability rights and fight for a publicly owned railway.”

A spokesman for national transport body Transport Scotland spokesman said a rolling programme of improvements to accessibility at stations across Scotland is being delivered.

“At stations where facilities have not yet been upgraded, ScotRail provides alternative travel provision for disabled passengers who request it,” he said.

“In addition Transport Scotland works in partnership with the Department for Transport to identify which Scottish stations should be given priority for improving access for disabled people. Part of this strategy is the £41 million Access for all fund and the £6 million Access for all small schemes fund which provides ScotRail and other partners with further investment to make smaller access improvements at a range of stations across Scotland.”