CrossCountry Trains forced special needs children to sit on the floor besides the toilets for hours. In an otherwise full train, the conductor allowed standard-fare passengers to use empty business class seats, but the special needs children were excluded from this, so that business class travellers were “spared” from having their journey “spoiled by the likes of [those] children”.
The ten kids, some as young as four, including one boy missing a leg, had been on a day trip to Edinburgh with Lanarkshire theatre group Stage Right. When their chaperones complained, the manager threatened to throw them off the train.
The privatised railway company CrossCountry Trains is now in the middle of its franchise period for running long-distance trains in Britain. The last thing it needs when it reapplies for this franchise is bad publicity for immoral and illegal treatment of its disabled customers.
Tell CrossCountry and its owners, German railway giant Deutsche Bahn, to treat all their customers fairly.
This isn’t the first time CrossCountry has been caught treating disabled passengers abominably. In another incidence, CrossCountry insisted that a woman with Parkinson's must not be helped on the train by a friend because there was not enough time for the friend to board the train and get out again.
To add insult to injury, the conductor blamed the woman living with Parkinson's for the delay, ostracizing her publicly. As her friend stated, “Can you imagine how this must have felt to any human being, let alone a grieving human being who used to be active and mobile and now needs help with getting herself seated on a train?” Not only did it take CrossCountry months to reply to complaints about this incident, it even defended its actions, making it clear it would do it again.
Never again. We call on CrossCountry and its owners Deutsche Bahn to install and enforce a company-wide anti-discrimination policy with strict repercussions for those who denigrate those with special needs.
No child should ever be made to feel unwanted. Let’s keep what happened to these kids from happening to other children, by signing our petition to CrossCountry and Deutsche Bahn now.
If enough of us come together, companies will react to pressure like this. We've seen this with Ryanair, where public pressure has led to it stopping policies working against people with disabilities.
Tell CrossCountry and Deutsche Bahn to follow their legal and moral obligations to people with special needs.
Rail workers refuse to let special needs children sit in business class, The Scottish Daily Record, 13 August 2013.
CrossCountry trains still discriminating against the disabled, MummyLion, 5 April 2012.