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Disabled woman has to crawl up Overground station stairs on her bottom because of lift fault

Stock image of an Overground train (TfL)
Stock image of an Overground train (TfL)

A disabled wheelchair user has filmed herself crawling up the stairs at a London Overground station because the lifts were broken.

Jennie Berry, a disabled content creator who runs a blog called the Wheelie Good Life, said there had been no prior warning of the lifts being out of service at Dalston Junction station on Thursday night.

The TfL website noted the lifts as working.

Ms Berry said she was forced to physically pull herself up the steps as there were no staff around to help.

Posting footage of the incident on Instagram, she said: “I crawled up the stairs and staff appeared when I was 3 steps from the top. They informed me that the lift has been broken for a month & ‘didn’t you know?’.

“I explained I’m not from here and surprisingly I don’t keep a log of functioning lifts in London.

“At the top of the 15 min climb, the lift technician decides to announce that he’s actually got the lift working.

“The two staff members behind me think this is hilarious and you can hear them laughing on the video about it.”

The 29-year-old added that the staff laughing was “beyond belief”, saying: “I literally just wanted to get back to my hotel before a busy day of work like everyone else.”

Black circles indicate no step-free access (Supplied/Merryn Thomas)
Black circles indicate no step-free access (Supplied/Merryn Thomas)

More than 700 people have commented on the post, with many sharing their outrage at the lack of accessibility on the London transport network.

Merryn Thomas, who is also a disabled public transport user, wrote: “I got caught out by this yesterday as well.

“The TfL Go app was showing Dalston as fully accessible but arrived to find the lift broken. There’s no way I can get up those steps so had no choice but to go back a stop and get the bus.

“There are so many out of order lifts in that area of the Overground at the moment and there doesn’t seem to be any haste to get them fixed.

“Meanwhile it’s just accepted that our time is less valuable than that of non-disabled people.”

Another said: “I’m so sorry you had to experience this, it’s the lack of basic human dignity that’s infuriating! Thank you for sharing these moments to educate and show why accessibility should not be an afterthought.”

Another added: “This video needs to get sent on to the Mayor of London and above. This attitude towards disabled people has to stop and disciplinary action should be taken with the staff laughing.”

In a message to Ms Berry on the post, a TfL spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear this happened. We take this seriously and will be thoroughly investigating this. We have sent you a direct message.”

In December, TV presenter Ade Adepitan shared a video of him being carried up stairs on the Jubilee line after the lift was broken, saying it was proof public transport does not work for disabled people.

According to campaigning body Transport for All, only 92 out of 272 London Underground stations have step-free access, although at around half of these there is no level boarding and so a manual boarding ramp is required.

Mark Evers, Transport for London's Chief Customer Officer, said: "We’re deeply sorry for the distressing experience that Jennie Berry has while travelling with us and we are urgently looking into this incident with Arrival Rail London, who operates the London Overground on our behalf,  to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

“We understand that lifts being out of service can have a significant impact on customers who rely on them, and we are committed to making transport in London more accessible. We are also working harder to ensure that lifts are repaired quickly and that information abouttheir availability is published promptly. I regret that in this instance the necessary information wasn’t readily available.”

The lift has now been repaired and has returned to service.