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'I was humiliated' - Woman slams Greater Anglia over attitude to disabled customers

PUBLISHED: 11:03 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 17 October 2019

Emily O'keefe who says she has been left feeling humilaited by the lack of understanding shown to her while she was travelling on a Greater Anglia train to Norwich. Picture: Lianne Haswell

Emily O'keefe who says she has been left feeling humilaited by the lack of understanding shown to her while she was travelling on a Greater Anglia train to Norwich. Picture: Lianne Haswell

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A "humiliated" disabled woman was left waiting to get off a train while staff got a key for the ramp.

The cramped conditions Emily O'keefe found her self in on her way back to Norwich from London earlier this month. Picture: Emily O'KeefeThe cramped conditions Emily O'keefe found her self in on her way back to Norwich from London earlier this month. Picture: Emily O'Keefe

And two days later she was hit in the face by people's bags after being forced into a crowded carriage because the disabled carriage was full.

Now Emily O'Keefe, 29, a wheelchair user from Norwich, has called on Greater Anglia to "sort out their attitude" to disabled customers.

She said there was a lack of understanding among staff, and added: "This incident, and the previous, have left me feeling humiliated and discriminated against as a wheelchair user.

"Last time [I complained, Greater Anglia] gave me £90 but I'm not bothered about the finances I just want them to sort their attitude out.

The cramped conditions Emily O'keefe found her self in on her way back to Norwich from London earlier this month. Picture: Emily O'KeefeThe cramped conditions Emily O'keefe found her self in on her way back to Norwich from London earlier this month. Picture: Emily O'Keefe

"I've said to them I would like to go to Stratford and work with their staff and teach them what it's like to travel around London in a wheelchair."

Miss O'Keefe arrived into Stratford station on October 9 to discover that despite booking assistance in advance, staff were not prepared with a ramp to help her off the train. She was forced to wait while staff found a key to the ramp to help her off the train.

Two days later when returning to Norwich, Miss O'Keefe was told by Greater Anglia staff she would not be able to sit in the disabled carriage because it was too busy.

Instead, Miss O'Keefe was forced to sit in another carriage "crammed in" by luggage, a bike and with no access to a toilet.

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She said: "I was getting hit in the face by bags, it was ridiculous: since being in a wheelchair I've struggled with people standing over me and obviously I had a lot of people standing over me. I suffer from anxiety anyway and it's been made worse since the problems at Stratford."

A spokesperson for Greater Anglia said: "We would like to apologise to Miss O'Keefe. We are investigating what happened on her journey and will respond to her direct.

"We have recently installed a new communication system which alerts station staff to customers who have pre-booked assistance at Stratford station. Our area customer service manager is working with our team at Stratford to refresh training and ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers.

"More than 40,000 people use our assisted travel line every year. A vast majority of these journeys are seamless, and we are sorry that this has not been the case for Miss O'Keefe."

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