Littleport disabled campaigner travels to London to join a transport think tank

Maria Stableford met with ministers in London about disabled transport

Maria Stableford met with ministers in London about disabled transport - Credit: Archant

A disabled transport campaigner has met with rail chiefs in London where she joined a think tank into making improvements for assisted travel on trains.

Mother of two Maria Stableford was recruited to add her voice after she told of her difficulties faced by disabled travellers, particularly when travelling from unmanned stations like Littleport.

After telling her story she contacted MP Stephen Barclay and National Rail to offer he help in bringing awareness to the railway ‘Assisted travel’ telephone number and to identify for the traveller easy travel solutions and how best to travel when going by rail.

She said: “I went to London and I met with the head of rail development.

“We discussed a new, nationally recognised, rail disabled ‘help’ card. Which can be kept by the disabled and carers for immediate help and access to assistance when needed.

“We discussed a revised disability plan to feed into the disability ‘assist me’ government pilot mobile app. Where assistance is always to hand when needed.

“I am to meet again with several rail development managers in the new year. This time in Littleport!”

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Mother of two Maria is the chair of the Littleport disability access group and with the groups wealth of knowledge she said she plans to host the meeting and help implement these improvements.

Her aim is to help more disabled people learn about the help that is available for them at train stations.

Former policewoman Maria Stableford, started her campaign after she was turned away from a station because there were no ramp facilities to get her onto the train.

She said at the time: “The only advice I could get was to go to another station with better facilities.

“The staff were very friendly and helpful, but the problem was that no one really knew the procedure.”

It transpired that if the train company had been called, they would have arranged a taxi service for Maria to the nearest station with appropriate facilities.

“That is such a great service, but few people seem to know about it,” she said.”

Maria, who has Fibromyalgia and arthritis, said she is determined to use her experience to help improve access to all transport for wheelchair and mobility scooter users.