Union blasts ‘Scrooge’ rail bosses over disabled helpline

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Railway booking office staff have been told to stop giving free assistance to disabled people who need help planning their journey, a union has claimed.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said disabled passengers could no longer get direct help at stations but were being told to call a new telephone service.

The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said calls were either free or charged at local rates and more efficient.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, said: “Previously our booking office members were only too willing to spend as long as it took helping the disabled plan what can be quite complicated journeys, given they have to be met at each stage of their journey. Now that has all been stopped by Scrooge bosses.

“Ordinary passengers are used to being ripped off by these profit-chasing cowboys, but even they will be shocked by this latest cynical penny-pinching move.”

A spokesman for Atoc said: “Train companies worked with disability groups to develop the new service, which allows passengers to book assistance in advance without having to make a separate trip to the station. The new call centre service collects much more passenger information than previously, making initial bookings more efficient and booking for future journeys much easier ... in the vast majority of cases passengers are able to use the service free of charge.”

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