MSP urges free travel to help disabled passengers

Train operators are being asked to provide free companion travel for disabled passengers.

Train operators are being asked to provide free companion travel for disabled passengers.

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Train operators have been urged to offer free companion travel for passengers who are blind and deaf-blind and need additional assistance.

In a debate last week in the Scottish Parliament, local MSP Nigel Don called on companies to make it easier for blind and deaf-blind passengers to travel with a companion.

He said: “If someone required a companion to travel with them, that person would not travel free, unless they had their own reasons for travelling free.

“They might get a discount, depending on the local authority area that they reside in, and they might also get a substantial discount if they had an appropriate card, by dint of age or other issues.

“I am struck by the fact that the cost of someone occupying a seat on a train that is travelling outwith commuter times is, for all practical purposes, zero; if that seat would otherwise be empty, the cost to the railway of its being occupied is, in fact, zero.”

Mr Don added that the current situation indicates that there seems to be a clear case for saying to railway operators that someone with severe disabilities, who needs a companion to get around, should be able to take that companion with them for free.

He said he would be raising the issue with Keith Brown, Minister for Transport and Veterans as well continuing dialogue with train operating companies.