A disabled woman had no choice but to ‘crawl up the stairs’ of an east London Overground station because the lifts were broken. Jennie Berry, a disability blogger and wheelchair user, arrived at Dalston Junction Thursday night to head back to her hotel only to find herself ‘stuck’ at the station. Having hauled herself up the stairs as no staff were around to help, she was only three steps from the top when a station worker told her the lift was down.
Berry, 29, said this surprised her, to say the least, given that there was no signage saying the lift wasn’t operational. ‘Didn’t you know?’, she says the staffer told her. ‘I explained I’m not from here and, surprisingly, I don’t keep a log of functioning lifts in London,’ she added on an Instagram post sharing footage of the ordeal. ‘At the top of the 15-minute 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. ‘I literally just wanted to get back to my hotel before a busy day of work like everyone else.’ According to Up Down London, which monitors the lift status across the London transport network, step-free access was ‘restored’ at Dalston Junction in the early hours today.
But to Berry, who runs the Wheelie Good Life blog, this isn’t good enough. ‘As a disabled person, this is a common occurrence and I was lucky enough to be able to do this – but lots of people aren’t,’ she said. ‘To be honest, I’m more annoyed at how staff treated me than the actual fact I had to crawl up the stairs, as at this point I’m used to this level of inaccessibility. ‘The way I’m treated always seems to surprise me the most.’
Berry added that she asked her female colleague, who wasn’t able to lift her, to film her crawling up the stairs to show the reality of being a disabled rider. Commenting on the Instagram post, Transport for London (TfL) said: ‘We are sorry to hear this happened. We take this seriously and will be thoroughly investigating this.’