26 March 2021
RMT Press Office:
Shocking rise in hate crimes toward disabled people on the rail network shows we need more staff on stations and trains says RMT.
The shocking rising level of hate crime toward disabled people travelling on Britain’s railways is a wake-up call to the industry to stop the cost-cutting that has emptied staff from trains and stations said RMT General Secretary Mick Cash today.
New figures published by the Department for Transport have shown that hate crimes toward disabled people traveling on the rail network have risen by 24% in the last three years. (1)
Surveys of disabled passengers show that action to reduce staffing levels makes them less likely to travel by train (2), while research commissioned by the Department itself has revealed that disabled passengers ‘report feeling vulnerable without on-board assistance being available’ and believe that more staff on trains and at stations are the most important measures that could be taken to make them feel safer. (3)
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The figures show we have a growing problem with hate crimes toward disabled people on our railways. It is frankly disgraceful that disabled people, who already take far fewer trips by rail, are being increasingly subjected to hate crimes when they do travel. The Department’s own research tells us that the answer to this is more staff.
“If we’re going to build back better after the pandemic so that disabled passengers feel safe to travel and the rail network is truly accessible, we need to stop the profit-driven cost-cutting and put more trained and skilled human beings back on our trains and at stations.”
- The DfT figures were published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-disability-and-accessibility-statistics-england-2019-to-2020
- Research published in 2013 showed that 81% of disabled passengers thought reducing staff on trains and stations would make it more difficult for them to travel. - Survation | Action For Rail Survey Highlights Plight of Disabled Rail Passengers | Survation
- The report commissioned by the DfT from Steer Group and completed in 2019 is titled ‘Effects of modes of train operations on passengers with disabilities’, Steer Group for the DfT, September 2019. The relevant passages are on pp. 21-26. This is covered in more detail here: RMT says ‘Scrap Driver Only Operation’ - rmt