Why are Merseyrail staff striking on the 8th April?
The end of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee had the air of an Agatha Christie’s Poirot, as I asked a question about Merseytravel, Merseyrail and the upcoming strike.
Indeed in Cllr Foulkes’ answer he mentioned the death of Georgia Varley as one of the reasons behind the new trains which will only need a driver.
However perhaps with those with long memories will know that a long time ago I asked a question to Cllr Foulkes about Wirral Council’s treatment of disabled people (which led to Bill Norman advising councillors not to publish the draft Anna Klonowski Associates report).
Although there is a strike timetable for Saturday and some timetable alterations for the two days before, as Merseyrail staff wouldn’t cross the picket lines last time, Merseyrail had to stop all trains during the last strike on the network from running at all.
My question (in two parts) is below:
Q. Wirral Council pays millions to Merseytravel each year for concessionary travel passes for free travel on the buses, trains and ferries.
One of the train stations nearest to where I live Bidston is only accessible by going up a flight of stairs, over a footbridge and down another flight of stairs.
Other train stations in Birkenhead such as Birkenhead Park and Upton have stepped ramps which can also cause problems.
A link is included in this question to a legal case from 2004 in the Court of Appeal which decided that providing taxis is not a reasonable adjustment and that train stations that were not accessible for wheelchair users were therefore discriminating against disabled people.
Who therefore for the stations listed above (Birkenhead Park, Upton and Bidston) is the body that should make these stations more accessible (for example Merseytravel, Merseyrail, Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales)?
Would you also like to comment on the reasons that have led Merseyrail to go on strike recently, with a further planned strike on 8th April (timed to coincide with the Grand National)?
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Both Cllr George Davies and Cllr Steve Foulkes are Labour councillors in Claughton ward where there is a contested byelection due to the death of Cllr Denise Roberts. There is also an election for Metro Mayor across Merseyside who will be directly accountable to the people for these sorts of decisions as ultimately the decision to purchase new trains was made by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
If people would like to comment on the candidates’ policy positions on this (or other matters) in either election, please feel free to leave a comment.
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