Avoiding the Train wreck: How Social Media Action and the Threat of Protest reversed a terrible decision.

No one can say that mobilization or at least the threat of mobilization does not have real, concrete, positive effects. To give some background context to this statement, the train company Trans Pennine Express (TPE) was considering putting a new train (the MK3) on the tracks, meaning to connect, people from Leeds to Scarborough.

The one problem with this plan?

The train was constructed with no wheelchair space on the train. When Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) discovered this, they quickly created a petition to demand the retraction of the MK3 train at least in its current form. This was only one planned method of action, jointly GMCDP and LDPO planned a protest, to be coordinated for the same day.  However, it did not come to this, for within a few days over 2,000 people signed GMCDP’s widely circulated petition, and soon TPE backed down.

In a statement on their website, they said they would not be going ahead with the MK3 model after they had held consultation talks with the Department of Transport around the model. No doubt the DOT did play a role in convincing TPE in changing their minds but GMCDP’s petition and the planned coordinated protests by various DPO’s including LDPO cannot be discounted in swinging the choice not to go ahead with their inaccessible train model. This shows that quick, effective, action can change things for the best.

~ By Peader O’Dea

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