The new Edinburgh tram system is facing the wrath of mobility scooter users before it has even opened. The operators have deemed them too bulk and have banned them from using the controversial trams.
The managers of Edinburgh trams have pointed out that they will accept wheelchairs and buggy’s on board, but Disability Scotland believe that the restrictions will also prohibit electric wheelchair users from accessing the network as they will also be deemed too large. Charlie McMillan, Disability Scotland director of services and development, is quoted as saying “Mobility scooters are actually small compared to most electric wheelchairs. This is discrimination at the end of the day.
“You would think that in 2014 a large public transport system such as this would be able to accept all passengers and be fully accessible. Disabled people have every right to enjoy the city the same as everyone else.”
He added: “It feels very counter-intuitive to build a tram line offering public transport to the city but deny access to those who are the most vulnerable in society.”
Mobility scooters were also banned from the Manchester tram system originally, but this ban was lifted earlier this month after over four years of campaigning.
A spokeswoman for the council, who own the tram operating company, said that trams will have dedicated wheelchair spaces, priority seating and street level access for easy boarding.
She added: “As with buses in the city, mobility scooters will not be permitted on trams because of space and in the interests of safety. The designated spaces are designed for wheelchair dimensions.”
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