I want freedom of travel

Simon, 42, Cambridgeshire

Simon is from Cambridge. He shares his experiences of using trains and how the current systems lack flexibility.

We’re supposed to have equal opportunities. If that is true, then disabled people should have the rights to have the same freedom of travel.

I just want to have choice

Say you are on the last day of a holiday. You want to have the freedom to get the 10 am or 2 pm train back home. That shouldn’t be out of the question. Non-disabled people have total flexibility.

If I can’t have that, then I should have reasonable flexibility. That might be a window of a few hours to travel during.

Simon Wilkes

Staff have such an impact on my journey

I struggle with the way railway assistance works for disabled passengers. Sometimes it’s not possible to plan every train before you travel. You can’t run real life around the train timetable.

If my rail assistance doesn’t show up and I miss a connecting train, that delays my journey by an hour or more longer. It is so stressful, and when the staff have a bad attitude, it makes everything so much more difficult.

Fortunately, I tend to be one of those people who likes to arrive early for things. My outbound journeys are meticulously planned. This minimises the risk of something going wrong. But the return journey is trickier. Sometimes I don’t know if I’ll be getting a morning or afternoon train back.

I should be able to be flexible

I shouldn’t have to know just because I have a disability. I should have the same flexibility as everyone else. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.

Get on Board: Making the economic case for “levelling up” inclusive transport

We’re calling for a new law that guarantees all rail journeys in Britain will be fully accessible by 2030. This must include an implementation plan with sufficient funding to ensure genuine progress is made.

Read about our research and the change we want to see in our policy report.