Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Britain, disabled people are being subjected to increasing levels of abuse on public transport by angry commuters, research shows

From The Telegraph in the UK:

A poll found that nearly half of people with disabilities suffer discrimination on buses and trains by passengers who object to giving up seats or being inconvenienced.

Alice Maynard, chairman of the disability charity Scope, said in some cases the abuse was so severe that victims felt unable to leave their homes.

Miss Maynard, herself a wheelchair user, said she regularly faces verbal attacks from able-bodied passengers while boarding trains.

She said she and her personal assistant are sworn at on a weekly basis by commuters angered by having to vacate seats reserved for disabled passengers.

Miss Maynard said: “I think it is getting worse. It happens once or twice a week — aggression, swearing.

“I think it is increasing because of the pressures on people: the overcrowding on trains and the general economic climate.

“If I reminded myself about everything that has been said, I would shut myself inside.”

A Scope survey revealed that 47 per cent of disabled people faced some form of discrimination while travelling on public transport. Of these, 15 per cent said they faced “high-level” abuse.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission claims that public transport is one of the “hot spots for violence and harassment targeted at disabled people”.

It will set out the scale of the discrimination in a report to be published this autumn.