Call to review tram mobility scooter ban

Tom Gilzean. Picture: Jane Barlow
Tom Gilzean. Picture: Jane Barlow
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TRANSPORT bosses are being urged to allow people with mobility scooters to get on buses and trams.

Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie said Transport for Edinburgh claimed “operational circumstances” meant they could not allow the scooters on board due to large passenger volumes, the challenge of manoeuvring the vehicles on and off a crowded bus or tram and the potential risk to other passengers.

But Mr Eadie said transport should be accessible for all and called on the company to carry out an urgent review of its controversial policy.

The Evening News revealed last year, shortly before the trams started running, that mobility scooters were to be banned. Disability campaigners labelled the decision “outright discrimination, and champion fundraiser, war veteran and scooter-user Tom Gilzean condemned the move as a “slap in the face”.

Mr Eadie said: “Given we are living in 2015, it is about time that transport within Edinburgh was accessible for all.

“I will continue to push Transport for Edinburgh 
vigorously to ensure they make the policy change, which is vital to ensuring everyone within our community can go about their daily lives without having the unnecessary problem of struggling getting from A 
to B.

“The vast majority of people in Edinburgh rely on both the tram and bus networks for commuting to and from work, socialising or shopping. It is not right in today’s society that some in our community are being excluded from using either buses or trams.

“Let’s not forget that these methods are Edinburgh’s two main transport networks and they should allow access for all and not be selective.”

He said he had written to Transport for Edinburgh chief executive Ian Craig seeking an urgent review of the policy and hoped to have a meeting with him as soon as possible.

Transport for Edinburgh said accessibility was a big priority across all its services.

Mr Craig said: “We’re currently trialling bicycle access on our trams and once that’s complete we’ll look at options open to us around mobility scooter access.

“Our accessibility is presently very good but if we can make it better then of course we’ll do what we can to ensure that everyone who wants to travel with us has the best experience possible.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com