#Disability Affairs
Government & Train Companies
United Kingdom

I was talking with a friend today, he’s got a severe case of visual and hearing loss, meaning he needs support to travel.

There’s a scheme called Direct Payments, that enables him to pay for someone to be his guide (normally around £7.50 an hour) to gets around – e.g., to keep well, to shop, to meet people, to find work, etc.

That does not cover travel expenses for the guide. In other words, he has to pay all the travel expenses for the guide, out of his own pocket. To get to the eye hospital in London, for example, (I’m sure you appreciate that it’s not easy to take a dog guide around London) he would have to pay his own travel expenses PLUS his guide's travel expenses - £36 each for Winchester to London (after railcard discount – a third off), £3.60 each for the Underground (Oyster), and refreshments – e.g., tea/coffee, water, etc. – about £3 each for the whole trip.

£85.20 is the total. All out of his own pocket. On a very low income too. If he was to be a sighted passenger, it’d have been only £42.60.

A large percentage of that is for the train fares. On this Winchester to London route, unlike elsewhere in the UK, there is no cheaper advance ticket.

If guide dogs for the blind can travel for free, shouldn’t guides in the form of human beings too?

If number of people with severe visual impairment and a guide travelling on the train is 1 out of 1,000 (honestly, I’ve never seen any myself), then is it not reasonable to expect the impact to train company’s revenues to be negligible.

We, the undersigned, call on the Government & Train Companies to understand that any person with severe visual impairment and a guide - be it a dog or a human being - shouldn’t pay twice the fare.

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The Stop charging severely visually impaired people with guides twice the fare petition to Government & Train Companies was written by Ben Fletcher and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.