Disabled Persons Railcard

Disabled Persons Railcard

From the start, this is a call for everyone to boycott travel by rail. I will be from now on as I am disgusted at the reply I got when asking about a disabled persons railcard. They obviously don't care !

I receive DLA low rate care component and I'm fighting for the mobility component. I am on ESA and in the support group. I have a disabled persons travel pass and a blue badge from the council. I really struggle to use the railways if I need to transfer between platforms or, when I go to see my Dad, where I have to get from a bus stop that's actually under the platform to the railway, which involves a walk up a slope that I have to give myself an hour to conquer as I need to stop often to get my breath. I just can't manage it any more.

Having a railcard will not solve these problems, but I am disgusted at their attitude where they say that they rely on government departments making decisions so they can issue these cards. DLA low rate care does NOT qualify, you have to be on the higher rates or PIP. They dismiss the disabled persons travel pass and blue badge as not being sufficient. ESA isn't even mentioned in their list. :(

They say the railcard is "...targeted at people who have disabilities that give them the greatest difficulty using rail." - What the heck is COPD then ? They then say "The Railcard is available to people who have a disability that is of a nature which entitles them to receive the entitlements listed on our leaflet." :O

I only started to look at this when someone on here mentioned the passenger assistance scheme and I was originally told I needed to have the disabled persons railcard to qualify for this - which was wrong...

I will now refuse to use the rail network at all as I feel I am being discriminated against. :X

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25 Replies

  • Hi Gordon,

    You have my sympathy for the way you have been treated, and I can understand why you would boycott the railway system as a result. The only thing I see about this is that you are having a one person protest against a huge uncaring organisation that is only interested in profit and has no social conscience.

    My answer would be to copy your article, and send it to your local MP, the Minister for Transport, and his Shadow. Point out that you are publicising this event,and that the tone of their reply could affect the way you vote in the future. I would also email it to your local press.

    By comparison, these last few years, I have visited many preserved railways, and I can say that the staff at those places have always done their utmost to ensure that my family and I have had a trouble free experience. Also, when flying, it is very easy to arrange assistance at the airports at both ends of the journey, without needing any proof of disability.

    So the revelation that disabled people are not welcome on our NATIONAL Rail System leaves me terribly disappointed, and as this website is seen worldwide, what impression does it give future visitors?

    Best wishes, Gordon

    breathe easy


  • One person protest it may be, but I'm going to be making darned sure lots of people get to hear about it.

    I've already copied it to my MP, a former Minister for Health and current Shadow Whip. Patrick McLoughlin is the current Secretary of State for Transport and the Shadow appears to be Maria Eagle. They are now on my hit list, as well as local and national media.

    I love the heritage railways, my brother-in-law has a farm next to the North Yorkshire line and we used to go up there often, when we could afford to. Their staff are always pleased to help, not like some of the miserable wretches that stand on the platform at mainline stations and totally ignore you.

  • Unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary to wield a big stick.

    Even more unfortunate, sometimes it is hard to find one big enough.

    Kudos for taking it further

    my respect


  • Gordon , I wouldn't bother with McLoughlin, he is only slightly less

    useless than his predecessor Justine Greening. His agenda is simple HS2, HS2, HS2 etc.

    However I WOULD approach Maria Eagle, as she is very feisty and extremely hardworking. She is one of the few Shadow ministers that has her head round her brief. My advice would be to write to Maria and cc McLoughlin. He would not like to face her

    during Questions in the House (PMQ,s).

    Onwards and upwards ....Adrian

  • Wonder if I should mention that I'm on first name terms with a certain leader of the opposition ? Ed is a Doncaster MP and I have met him several times... I may just CC him too :)

    The big question is - is this a government thing ? The criteria seems to have been set by a limited company who operate as ATOC Ltd, yes, I know that means Association of Train Operating Companies but they seem to be a different entity ? I also have the company name of Journeycall Ltd.

    I've written this all up with the heading Q: When is a disabled person not disabled ? under which I have put A: When they apply for a disabled persons railcard... I'll tidy it up and email it in the morning.

  • You certainly are well connected. I do like your rhetorical question. Do you know any friendly

    journalists that can help the cause?.Adrian

  • Ed became MP for Doncaster North when I was opening a radio station in his constituency and he came to cut the ribbon, then I interviewed him on air. I've met him several times since, once where there was a big environmental issue and the BBC were there, but he came over to talk to me first :) I'm not really a political party person, unless it comes to making use of local MP's to deal with issues like this.

    I've had email from National Rail Enquiries this morning to say they will raise the issue of 0345 numbers with their management team and agree with me that 0845 are not charged the same rate for everyone. I highlighted the fact that BT users pay 4.032p a minute yet Virgin customers pay 10.22p a minute and both add on a connection charge.

    Crazy that government departments and public facing organisations are still using 0845 when 0345 has been around since 2007 and yet many refuse to switch theirs on.

    One possible factor being that 0845 are revenue generating numbers, paying pence per minute, although IDS insists the government do not accept the revenue - so who does ? There are millions of minutes of calls to government departments using 0845 numbers, which will be generating many thousands of pounds of revenue - someone's making money out of it...

    It was the Cabinet Office who originally pressed Ofcom into the provision of 03 numbers. Most advertising seems to say that 0845 is charged at local rate, or inclusive on BT landlines but 'others may vary' - yet BT have less than 40% of the market share of non-business calls so anyone claiming that the majority of callers would not benefit from the 0345 version are incorrect. And, 0845 has not been 'local rate' for a long time now.

    I called the Jobcentre about my ESA claim earlier this year, I was on hold for 54 minutes before I got to speak to someone and the total call was 62 minutes, at a cost of £6.45. Had it been 0345 then the call would have been part of my inclusive minutes on my mobile. If I had used my mobile it would have cost me £21.70 for the call... :O

    I don't want to get into any arguments about disabled people being on low income/benefits and not being able to afford 0845 calls, it actually applies to everyone - why should we be ripped off when a new system was put into place 6 years ago and it's the various departments who are dragging their heels.

    But I digress...

  • Managed to duplicate my reply, so I deleted one copy.

    Sorry to admin

    breathe easy all


  • I have not fully investigated the potential savings. I know it gives 30% off most fares and costs £20 for the year so my latest proposed trip to Alfreton would have cost £10.40 on an off-peak return and only £6.85 with the railcard, so £3.55 off the one trip. I would need to do half a dozen trips with a saving like that to cover the cost and would probably manage it in 12 months.

    But that wasn't the real issue. I only looked at it as I was originally told, wrongly, that I had to have this railcard to get assistance. My point, and soapbox topic, is that I am suddenly not disabled in the eyes of the issuing company of the cards, despite holding a disabled persons travel pass - which I would have thought was sufficient 'evidence' of disability as you don't just get these willy-nilly in cornflakes packets.

    I'm not knocking the passenger assistance service, just the faceless powers that be that dictate that I'm not disabled in their eyes. Poppycock!

  • I think you may have been very unlucky Gordon. I do not use the railway often but when I do I have always found them very helpful and courteous. They have not only provided a wheelchair and pushed me about but individuals have asked if I would like them to go fetch me a drink, etc. All in all a very positive experience.

  • As I said in the reply to Stitch above, I'm not knocking the passenger assistance service, just the faceless powers that be that dictate that I'm not disabled in their eyes. It's the application process for the railcard I'm upset about.

    I'm sure that if I asked for assistance I would get it, it is just that unless you pre-book or ask, normal station staff are not all that helpful in my experience.

  • Oh how I agree with you Gordon , why are the regulations so different for each thing. I do have a disabled rail card, but could not get one till quite recently even though I have a visual impairment, arthritis in my feet and hands, plus COPD. But some people get it just for one illness i.e epilepsy is one I beleive.

  • It's not the savings made by using the railcard that bother me, I would probably break even as it's not that often I go out of the local area. I was originally told I'd need to have one to get assistance, which then turned out to be false, and it was then when I found I didn't qualify.

    It would seem logical that if you have a national disabled person travel pass, that must be approved by your local authority and backed by evidence form your GP etc. then this would be 'proof' of disability.

    The Railcard people sent me an email saying "...we do not have the resources to validate people’s reported disabilities, something that government departments are better placed to do. We rely on evidence from these agencies that demonstrates a person has the kind of disability which puts them in our target group. " on their website it states "Holding a concessionary bus pass does not, in itself, entitle a person to qualify for a Disabled Persons Railcard. Concessionary bus passes are administered by local authorities who have the flexibility to use their discretion when issuing passes. So whilst many of the people who have a bus pass may be candidates for a Railcard, there are many who would not (for example, people with short term illnesses and conditions). Therefore we cannot accept the bus pass alone as grounds to issue a Railcard. "

    They must be mad ! A council is local government isn't it ? If someone has a short term illness then they wouldn't get the bus pass, or if they do it would expire and they'd not be able to use it as evidence for a railcard.

    I despair :X

  • If you have any of the illnesses or disabilities listed on the form or their info but don't get higher rate DLA/PIP then all it should take is a supportive letter from your GP

  • That is correct, however some GP's charge a fee for their time to do it, just the same as for a certificate of fitness to fly or go on holiday.

  • Afraid not - they have a list of what qualifies and there's no scope for a Doctor's letter. It's all down to official award letters for DLA, PIP, AA and so on, or Social Services verifying a visual impairment or deafness. Epilepsy is an exception, as previously noted, with a copy of the Exemption Certification OR, strange but true, if you are buying or leasing a vehicle through the Motability scheme. I thought you have to have DLA to be able to do that, so it seems rather spurious.

    All levels of PIP qualify, the only DLA exception is the low rate care for some reason.

  • Your right Gordon, low rate care DLA does not qualify you for a lot of other disability rights not just travel ones. And the mobility scheme only applies to those on mobility component of DLA. There used to be a way with a doctors letter in the past to get a travel pass if your mobility was badly impaired and you received no mobility money.As previously stated the system is so complex, need a solicitor to work it out. Sorry to butt in on this issue, but some people think it is simple but we know different don't we!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • You could try a challenge via the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) in court though not sure you'd find a free solicitor now they've abolished legal aid for most things....

  • It's a cop out for the railcard issuing company though, they've already said that they will only accept certain allowances and certificates and that they rely on other agencies to determine who gets those.

  • Well Gordon another problem with rail travel is your not guaranteed a seat even when you pre book. To spite being a disabled traveler, with a reserved seat I have been left standing on the station when the train was full, miles from home and I know others who have experienced similar.Then there's the obstacle of unmanned stations, no services for disabled,but the people who help if you pre arrange are marvelous. Then there is the obstacle of getting on and off if you are not in a wheelchair, although many trains have a disabled passenger carriage nowadays it's often full,bus travel is much easier

  • If I could get a bus to some destinations then I would, saving all this hassle, but the only way is to go town to town. Where there used to be some long-distance expresses they've gone. This creates further problems in needing to wait for connecting services, or risking missing them if one bus is late.

    When I've had a reserved seat on a train I make darned sure I take it, if needs be I get the on-train staff to assist. I try to avoid the busiest times too, when trains are going to be packed.

    One of our local stations is unmanned and you had to cross the line between platforms, making sure no train was coming of course. They've put a bridge in now, and removed the flat crossing, which makes it very difficult for lots of people. The rail company say to travel on to the next station where you can cross, and get the next train back. Not very helpful when that's miles up the track and will add loads to the journey time.

  • Well Gordon sounds like you have had a taste of the difficulties of travel, I hate to think what will happen when I eventually have to concede to wheelchair travel, guess like you I'll become more housebound as my illness progresses.I have one question why don't we have research into the difficulties of maintaining independence when disabled, just as we have research into possible cures? There have been a lot of moves forward, new gadgets and awareness training, but there are quite a few things that seem an hindrance rather than help

  • DLA isn't the passport it should be for everyone. Clearly the rail network companies don't understand and don't want to understand the needs of disabled people. A bit like my local Sainsbury's who's Blue Badge parking spaces are much further away from the entrance door than "ordinary" shoppers' parking spaces!!

  • Hi Gordon I am sorry to here you've had a bad response from the rail card the rail companies themselves,I have P F and use a wheelchair when I have to walk any distance,we have travelled from Aberdeen to London and on to Dover by rail a few times,I have a rail card which was not a problem and when booking our truncated ask for assistance and can't fault the help I get with ramps to help me on and on trains the even carry our luggage,I am sorry you have such a bad time but I can only praise staff and the conductors of East Coast railways

  • It's not the railway companies I have a problem with as I've heard nothing but praise for the people who provide the assistance.

    It's the bureaucrats who make the rules and then make silly excuses to defend the holes in their criteria. On the one hand they say they need to ahve rules as to who can get a railcard, and like it to the procedure for a Blue Badge or Concessionary Travel Pass, then say these don't count as the holder may only have a temporary illness...? You wouldn't get a Blue Badge or Travel Pass if your condition was only temporary as it would take far too long applying and jumping through the hoops.

    They say that they rely on other Government departments to do the vetting and checking, so having a Blue Badge or Disabled Persons Travel Pass means nothing, despite being vetted by local government and requiring medical evidence ?

    That's what annoys me and why I've written to the MP's concerned. A national Travel Pass is also photographic ID and linked to a massive database, why they can't just accept this as being a disabled persons railcard as well - it would save a lot of admin and hassle... :D

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