Comedian rejects apology after train ‘humiliation’
Tanyalee Davis said she was reduced to tears when a railway guard made her move so that a woman could put her pram in the wheelchair area.
A comedian has said an apology is “not enough” after she was forced to move her mobility scooter from a disabled space on a train.
Tanyalee Davis, 37, said she was reduced to tears when a railway guard made her move so that a woman could put her pram in the wheelchair area.
Her partner Kevin Bolden filmed the incident on his phone while they were travelling from Plymouth to Norwich on Sunday.
I rely on trains to get me to my gigs. Mobility scooters are NOT considered wheelchairs in the UK so I am discriminated. This was a humiliating experience. https://t.co/6k1EPcUxAn— Tanyalee Davis (@TanyaleeDavis) July 17, 2018
She said the guard announced over the tannoy: “We’re going to be stopping in Taunton indefinitely because the woman in the mobility scooter is causing problems.
“They are videotaping me and threatening to put it on the internet.”
“That was the most despicable part – all of a sudden you have everybody’s eyes on you – and people are freaking out because they have connections to Gatwick and all of a sudden they know it’s because of me,” she added.
“It was so humiliating that I wanted to crawl under a rock and die.
“When he announced it, it was so embarrassing. I had to sit there for the next two hours crying.
“He threatened to call the police and have us arrested because we were videotaping him.”
Great Western Railway (GWR) said the incident “should not have happened” and has apologised to Ms Davis.
“GWR wants to apologise but that’s not the point here – there’s a bigger picture about whether or not to classify mobility scooters as the same as wheelchairs,” she said.
“An apology is not enough – it’s fine to say ‘sorry it shouldn’t have happened’ – but I have now been hearing other people’s stories saying they had a very similar situation in a mobility scooter or a blind person.
“It’s not just about GWR, it’s transport in general across the UK and for me personally getting some sort of change in classification with mobility scooters and not trying to make us seem like we’re not disabled.”
Ms Davis has dwafism and relies on her specially modified mobility scooter to get around as she cannot walk long distances.
She added: “I’m just trying to make a living and get around the country.
“I’m just trying to support my family and do a job I love and I’m constantly having to battle.”
She said that, despite arranging for assistance at stations, there is often no staff to help and she is left “at the mercy of other people”.
“I want to get the word out there and talk to more people who can facilitate some change,” she added.
Great Western Railway said “no one travelling with us should be left feeling like this” and added: “This should not have happened, and we have been in touch with Tanyalee to apologise directly.
“She has asked to speak with a senior member of our team to talk about her experience – and how we might avoid it happening again – and we have said we would be very happy to arrange this as soon as possible.”