GMCDP together with Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts and the National Union of Students Disabled Student Officer held a meeting with Network Rail and Northern Rail, to discuss the access problems at Victoria Station in Manchester.
We determined that it is Network Rail who made the rushed decision to replace/update all 3 lifts at once when the lift on platform 3 failed. They explained this lift failure meant a consultation with their new disabled forum/reference group did not happen and the decision to do all 3 in one go was made as quickly. They project the work will be finished my mid-January and can do nothing to expedite it. Northern Rail explained all the adjustments they were making but it emerged these are not publicly stated in one easily accessible place, so there is a problem with information access, both for passengers and staff.
We asked that they get this information publicly available by the end of this week so disabled people are fully informed of what assistance they should be offered at Victoria and also appropriate warnings given about use of the stairmaster stair climbing device. They have also apologised for creating this situation where a major transport hub in Manchester is rendered inaccessible for many throughout the Holiday Season. We encourage people to make complaints officially and we ask members to copy us in to any complaints they make to Northern and Network Rail about access issues at Victoria. We will remain in contact to ensure the mitigating measures are being effectively implemented. And we will be updating the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Manchester who have taken an interest in this issue.
In the future we will be meeting with them about railway station and other access across Greater Manchester and about representation on their Disabled people’s forum/reference group, in conjunction with the GM Disabled People’s Panel that GMCDP convene with DPO’s and commissioned by GM Mayor Andy Burnham.