Transport User Voice – September 2018 – Case study

29 August 2018

Getting a mobility scooter permit

Mr M booked tickets in advance for his wife to travel on Great Western Railway (GWR) services to London on 3 August, returning two days later.

Mrs M uses a mobility scooter (that measures approximately 4cm under GWR’s required measurements) and intended to use this whilst travelling.

Before booking the tickets, Mr M had been advised that he could get a permit for travel with the scooter, but when he contacted GWR to secure this his request was refused. GWR made this decision on the basis of manufacturer sizes, arguing his wife’s scooter is 1cm too long for use on their trains.

Transport Focus escalated this matter on the basis that the passenger has provided measurements which are below those required. We also sent a picture of the scooter with a tape measure next to it, indicating it was 4cm under the requirements.

GWR reviewed the measurements provided by Transport Focus and then called up the manufacturer who confirmed that the approximate size cited is actually accurate and, as such, the scooter should be larger than the dimensions GWR permits.

Although GWR felt it had made the right decision when handling this case initially, upon review it decided to issue the scooter permit as the customer had travelled before on the scooter without incident, and the manufacturer’s sizes given were very close to the guidelines. As a result, Mrs M was able to travel on her booked tickets and to use her mobility scooter.

GWR also explained that safety is a priority and it is necessary to set parameters to work within. A permit allows the operator to be confident that the scooter will not tip when being driven up the ramp onto the train. This potential hazard is a concern for GWR as it uses a variety of different trains.

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