Calls for Cathays station to provide better disabled access

A tweet spotlighting the lack of disability access at one of Cardiff’s busiest train stations has sparked heated discussion

Cathays station still lacks disability access. Photo taken by Almha Murphy.

A recent twitter post has brought attention to the fact that despite being amongst the top ten busiest train stations in Wales, Cathays still lacks vital facilities for those with disabilities.

Currently, the station does not provide lifts, meaning that many people with disabilities have to travel around the station via Senghennydd Road and Park Place in order to cross between Platforms 1 and 2. The estimated walking time for an able bodied person is nine minutes.

Kate Watkins, a spokesperson for Disability Wales, has confirmed that from her experience as someone who uses a wheelchair, accessing Cathays station is incredibly difficult. This is due not only to the lack of lifts but also the narrow space on the platforms.

Watkins said she would rather travel the extra distance to Cardiff Queen Street station, adding that the platform space at Cathays is completely inadequate for chair users as well. “There is literally less than half a metre between the edge of the ramp and the barbed wire fence,” she said. “I can’t magic space.”

The station says while it does offer a ramp, induction loop and a height adjusted ticket office counter, there is no facility for wheelchair users, mobility scooter users or persons with reduced mobility to cross between Platforms 1 and 2 due to the steep footbridge.

The lack of space in the station also caused damage to Watkins’ property. She said, “The way I had to get off the ramp, it would lead to shredding my wheelchair tyres.”

It just shows their lack of awareness that they need to get this done, that it is important

The lack of facilities at Cathays have also posed an issue for organisations. Kate revealed that Disability Wales has had to reconsider their plans to relocate to Cathays based on the lack of access in the station. 

“It’s not even just for wheelchair users,” she argued, “but those with mobility impairments, or pushchairs, or luggage that’s too heavy for them.”

She said that though Transport for Wales (TFW) has refurbished the station in the past, it is not enough.

One Twitter user commented, “Those steps have always been awful – I used to use the lift in the student union when I was pregnant if I really couldn’t face them!”

Another user complained about the steepness of the steps, claiming, “I have to turn my feet and hold the hand rail.”

It takes an estimated nine minutes to walk around Cathays station if you are unable to use the steps.

Watkins also expressed concern over the maintenance of facilities at other stations, as she remembered an incident in which both lifts were out of operation at Cardiff Central.

“It just shows their lack of awareness,” Kate said, “that they need to get this done, that it is important.”

The Equality Act 2010 requires all station operators to take reasonable steps to ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled people, however TFW has yet to make Cathays station more accessible.

At the time of writing this article, TFW has not responded to a request for comment.