Month: July 2019

The equality watchdog is considering legal action

The equality watchdog is considering legal action

first_imgThe equality watchdog is considering legal action against the government over its failure to ensure an accessible rail service, according to a leading disabled expert.The potential legal action emerged in the wake of anger directed at rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – which runs Southern (pictured), Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Great Northern – after it issued “grossly insulting” guidance to staff on how to deal with disabled rail passengers.Among the advice in the Pit Stop guidance was that staff should not attempt to place “persons of reduced mobility (PRM)” on a train “if there is a possibility of delaying the service”.It also tells staff that any PRM wishing to travel by train to an unstaffed station should be taken to the nearest staffed station to their destination and then “assisted into a taxi”.And it says that “ill passengers need to be removed from the train as quickly as possible” because “not taking action will cause thousands of other passengers to be stuck on trains”.For people “who are fitting”, the guidance says, staff should “wait for the convulsions to stop and be ready, if appropriate, to move them once they have started to wake up”.Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said the guidance was “shocking” and “grossly insulting to disabled people, who are being treated as second class citizens”.Although other disabled campaigners were outraged at GTR’s guidance, they also said it was an inevitable consequence of government rail policies.Ann Bates, a leading transport access consultant and former rail chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, said she blamed both the government and GTR for the guidance.She believes the guidance is a direct result of government policies that force companies to cut staff and run driver-only operated (DOO) trains – with no second member of staff on board to help disabled passengers on and off trains – and run more services with fewer delays.Bates said she has been discussing the discrimination faced by disabled rail passengers with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and has been told it is considering legal action under the Equality Act against the government.She said: “I think we have more than enough [evidence]. They have not provided the right reasonable adjustments. It is blatantly prejudicial.”Asked whether EHRC was considering legal action against both GTR and the government, she said: “I think the EHRC were going towards the government as opposed to GTR because [the problems that have been seen at GTR have also] moved to other franchises.”It was the government, she said, that had written the franchise agreements with the train companies, although the [GTR] guidance would be useful evidence for any legal action.She said legal action against the government would be justified because its policies had forced rail companies to run train services without a second member of staff.She said: “If there’s nobody on the train and an unstaffed station you have virtually told me I cannot travel on three-quarters of the network.”Bates, who has previously worked as a consultant for Southern, said the GTR guidance was “insulting” and “the most ridiculous piece of guidance I have ever seen”.She said: “Never before has there been such awful attack on PRMs and ill people.“I should have the same right to get on a train as some nimble, middle-aged man with a briefcase.“Of course we take longer to board but if we have turned up in plenty of time, if they can’t find the ramp or they can’t do this or they can’t do that, that’s nothing to do with me.“I have fulfilled my half of the bargain, they have to fulfil theirs. It [should be] a level playing-field.”Bates was at London Bridge station last December, having pre-booked assistance and arrived early, but was told by a member of staff at the station that she could not board the train because he could not contact the station she was travelling to – East Croydon – to confirm there was someone there to help her off.He told her this was “the new policy”. Bates said that paying for a taxi was not a “reasonable adjustment” under the Equality Act, partly because of the shortage of accessible taxis in many parts of the country.She added: “Why would I get a taxi to join the same traffic queue I had paid to avoid?”An EHRC spokeswoman said: “We cannot comment on on-going cases, but we are working to ensure transport companies are aware of their responsibilities under the Equality Act, and to improve access to transport for disabled people.”She added: “Access to public transport is something that many people take for granted, but for disabled people it is crucial to their ability to live independently.“Transport service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that everyone is able to use those services.“We are closely monitoring access to transport for disabled people to ensure that this is happening.”Stephen Brookes, the minister for disabled people’s rail sector champion, said the GTR guidance was “appalling and unacceptable” and “massively discriminatory”.But he said it was important not to focus only on GTR because the attitude to disability across the industry was “appalling and unacceptable”, while the use of DOO services was “discriminatory”.Brookes said he believed the regulator, the Office of Rail and Road, needed stronger powers to “take a proactive approach” to ensuring that rail companies comply with their disabled people’s protection policy (DPPP), which describes the assistance they provide disabled passengers.He said that the “increasing disaster of rail company DPPP guidance” demonstrated the need for “far better regulation” rather than just “advice”.He added: “For older and disabled people the impact of changes, reduction in train staff and new but still badly designed frequently inaccessible trains is making rail travel almost a ‘no go’ scenario for many disabled people, never minding the restrictive costs.”Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said the guidance showed that the journeys of disabled passengers “can be disrupted for no more reason than that the GTR cannot ensure a decent level of staffing”.DPAC said GTR believes it “has the right to refuse access, remove passengers or alter their mode of transport provided these passengers are of reduced mobility” because the company “holds Speed, Efficiency and Shareholder’s Profits supreme”.DPAC took part in a protest against the guidance on Monday outside London Bridge station, alongside campaigners from the Association of British Commuters (ABC).Transport for All (TfA), the user-led organisation which campaigns for an accessible transport system in London, which had members at the DPAC/ABC protest, backed the idea of legal action.Alan Benson, TfA’s chair, said the leaked GTR document “clearly establishes that the priority is to run trains on time, which is understandable given the fines incurred and the criticism GTR have faced over recent years”.But he added: “That this comes at the expense of passengers requiring assistance to overcome the barriers inherent in British railways is completely unacceptable.”He said the guidance was “explicit” that disabled passengers should be “left stranded” if the short time the train had while stopping at a station did not provide enough time to deploy the ramp or escort a blind person to a seat.He said: “The impact is most keenly felt on the frequent occasions when things don’t go as prescribed, when staff forget you’re waiting, when the destination can’t be contacted.“As staff disappear from the railways it is becoming increasingly clear that disabled people are the ones that suffer. The revelations in this document reveal why.“Disabled people are not asking for special treatment. We are asking for reasonable support to overcome the barriers we face using the railways and that when the system fails we are not let down or scapegoated.“When we turn up on time we expect to be able to board a train of our choosing. This is no more or less than every other passenger.”A GTR spokesman said: “We place a high priority on making our services accessible to all and actively encourage people with restricted mobility to use our trains.“Our policy remains the same, which is to offer assistance to all passengers to help them with their journeys.“We have a responsibility to make sure each service leaves on time to avoid knock-on delays, skipped station stops and cancellations to other services which would affect thousands of other passengers, many of whom may also have mobility difficulties.”He said the term PRM included all passengers who need assistance, including those with heavy luggage, bikes and buggies.The spokesman said that since GTR “modernised the role of around half of our conductors in January 2017” there were now “more staff on more trains, with more time to help passengers, especially those with mobility difficulties”, and there had been “improvements to punctuality, reliability and passenger satisfaction”.He said: “In the very rare instance where a train without its on-board supervisor calls at an unstaffed station where a passenger with restricted mobility needs help to board or alight, we have tried and tested procedures in place to help the passenger make their journey.“All of our policies and procedures meet fully all disability discrimination laws and regulations.“We take our obligations seriously and continue to focus on improving customer experience for all our passengers, including those that may need more assistance from us on their journeys.”The Department for Transport (DfT) refused to say whether it believed the GTR guidance showed that disabled passengers would be the victims of the push for more trains, fewer delays, and fewer on-board and station staff.Asked about the government facing possible legal action, a DfT spokeswoman said: “We expect all train companies to do everything possible to make travel easy for those with disabilities.“It is vital that all passengers, including disabled passengers, can turn up and go when using public transport and train companies have a legal obligation to provide the same access to the disabled.”She said DfT was working with the transport-user watchdog Transport Focus on research to identify the challenges facing disabled rail passengers, which will be used to improve services.last_img read more

SAINTS opened up their preseason campaign with a

SAINTS opened up their preseason campaign with a

first_imgSAINTS opened up their pre-season campaign with a 10-try Karalius Cup win over Widnes Vikings.Royce Simmons’ men raced to a 36-4 lead at half time as their quick ball handling and pace through the middle swamped their hosts.  James Graham led the way with two tries whilst Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Michael Shenton turned in impressive ‘debut’ performances alongside the now free from injury Leon Pryce.  Andy Dixon continued the roll in the second half, but two quick Widnes’ tries and a number of handling errors checked progress.   But further tries from Gary Wheeler and a rare ‘Penalty Try’ sealed a 52-20 win.  For Saints first hit-out of pre-season, new coach Royce Simmons opted to start with his strongest side available.  Only Kyle Eastmond, Paul Wellens and Josh Perry missed out meaning an early chance for fans to see new signings Michael Shenton and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.Lee Gaskell was named at scrum half with Leon Pryce completing the half back partnership.  Widnes made a number of changes for their third friendly of the season… with former Saint Ste Tyrer on the bench.  The Vikings opened the game on the attack with a chip to the corner forcing Francis Meli into early action. The ball came forward and from the scrum, Widnes opened up the defence and Shane Grady bulldozed over.  Danny Craven slicing the extras wide.  But Saints hit right back through James Graham less than a minute later – Jamie Foster converting with ease.  Moments later, Jammer’s short ball had Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook side-stepping his way to the line to increase the lead further. Foster making it 12-4.  Saints looked like scoring on every set and were almost in again when Michael Shenton found room down the right hand side.  But it was down the middle where the next try came – Sia Soliola breaking the line to nudge Saints further ahead. Foster adding the extras.  On 22 minutes, Saints showed some of the ball-play that makes them one of the most exciting teams to watch. From just over their own tryline the ball went through hands, to Gaskell who found Shenton in space.  And the former Castleford Tiger didn’t disappoint, showing a turn of pace and sleight of hand to feed Gardner who made no mistake. Foster drifting his conversion to the left of the posts from the far right corner.  James Roby bagged one of his own five minutes later, Foster tagging on the two, before Graham got his second of a lopsided first half.   And just before the hooter sounded, an Ade Gardner break was finished off on the other side by Tom Armstrong.  Half time: Saints 36 Widnes 4  Saints started where they finished off with Andrew Dixon going over after a nice interchange with Armstrong.  Kurt Haggerty then got Widnes on the board when he used his strength to break through the line – Tyrer tagging on the extras.  And seconds later, Anthony Thackeray added another; bouncing off the would be tackler to go in the corner.  Saints were starting to look a bit scratchy but ‘normal service’ was resumed when Francis Meli rampaged in field and found Gary Wheeler in support.   Foster making it 46-14.  Moments later, Saints were handed a penalty try when Sia Soliola was fouled as he tried to mop up a Vikings’ error. Foster with the conversion.  Widnes continued to try an expansive brand of rugby but were making handling errors and coming up against a keen Saints’ defence.  But they got the try their play deserved when Matt Gardner scooted in the corner – Tyrer converting to make the ‘half’ score 16-16 – and closing the scoring.   Saints retaining the Karalius Cup for the third time.   Match Summary:  Widnes: Tries: Grady, Haggerty, Thackeray, GardnerGoals: Craven (0 from 1), Tyrer (2 from 3)  Saints: Tries: Graham (2), McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Gardner, Roby, Armstrong, Dixon, Wheeler, Penalty Try.Goals: Foster (6 from 10)   Penalties: Widnes: 9 Saints: 6 HT (Sts First): 36-4FT (Sts First): 52-20 REF: R Hicks ATT: 3755   Teams:Widnes:   1. Danny Craven; 19. Matt Gardner, 18. James Ford, 23. Tangi Ropati, 5. Paddy Flynn; 6. Anthony Thackeray, 14. Thomas Coyle; 3. Richard Varkulis, 9. Kirk Netherton, 10. Daniel Heckenberg, 20. Shane Grady, 16. MacGraff Leuluai, 17. Ben Kavanagh.Subs: 4. Steve Tyrer, 8. Steve Pickersgill, 12. Kurt Haggerty, 15. Chris Gerrard, 25. Chris Lunt, 29. Grant Gore, 34. Jack Owens.  Saints:   22. Jamie Foster; 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Michael Shenton, 17. Gary Wheeler, 5. Francis Meli; 6. Leon Pryce, 25. Lee Gaskell; 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 9. James Roby, 10. James Graham, 4. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Chris Flannery.Subs: 11. Tony Puletua. 14. Scott Moore, 16. Paul Clough, 18. Matty Ashurst, 19. Andrew Dixon, 24. Tom Armstrong.last_img read more

SAINTS are Super League Champions after a stunning

SAINTS are Super League Champions after a stunning

first_imgSAINTS are Super League Champions after a stunning and nerve-racking 14-6 win over Wigan in the Grand Final.Paul Wellens’ reverse kick to Tommy Makinson sealed a dramatic triumph as the 12-man Warriors refused to back down.Ben Flower was sensationally sent off in the third minute for punching Lance Hohaia as he lay prone on the floor.But shorn of their last remaining half back Saints struggled to gain any kind of momentum until Sia Soliola crashed over and Wellens made his telling contribution.Winning a title hinges on those moments, but it would be wrong not to mention the defence too.Much maligned by those outside the club, it stood firm so Saints could take home their sixth Super League title.Saints brought Sia Soliola into the starting line up in the only change from the side that beat Catalan.Wigan withdrew Michael McIllorum late on allowing Sam Powell to come into his place.Saints kicked off into a dramatic and raucous atmosphere only for Mose Masoe to give away a penalty for a high shot.Seconds later though Ben Flower smashed Lance Hohaia on the floor away from the play and was sent off.It was a bizarre action by the Wigan forward, with the Saints half back prone on the floor and unable to defend himself.Lance leaving the field with what looked like a serious facial injury.With a man advantage Saints had the next two possessions but couldn’t find a way through the defence.But a fantastic Josh Charnley break handed the impetus back to Wigan, who then won a penalty.Saints defended it well though and could have pressed home their advantage if they hadn’t lost the ball on their next set.On 15 minutes Adam Swift took a high ball but Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook got in front of him as he cleared his lines.That saw Wigan gain a penalty and Matty Smith duly put them ahead.Saints were lacking Hohaia’s kicking game and it showed as they couldn’t complete their sets nor gain a decent advantage when they had to clear their lines.A repeat set on 27 minutes gave Saints some pressure and then James Roby was impeded as he tried to play the ball.Percival levelling it up with the boot.Saints defended another set as Wigan pressed in the dying moments of the first half and then Brown’s men almost crossed with a melee of their own.But another penalty handed it back to Wigan and they made no mistake, pushing the ball wide for Joe Burgess to put them ahead at half time.Saints started the second half well but it was the Warriors who pressed first.On 50 minutes, Matty Bowen dropped a high ball handing Saints a set right on their line, but it went to ground again.Saints weren’t going to let Wigan get away with another handling error though and Sia Soliola blasted over from short range.Percival putting Saints ahead.Tommy Makinson stopped a certain Liam Farrell score on 58 minutes and then Swift put Wigan on their heels with a superb kick chase.Matty Smith missed the chance to draw Wigan level with a penalty on 63 minutes and Saints made them pay.Wellens produced a sublime reverse kick and Makinson out leaped the defence to score.There were some hairy moments in the final stages but Saints closed out the game to win the title – which will sit nicely alongside the League Leaders’ Shield.It was culmination of a superb season and a fitting goodbye to Nathan Brown, Sia Soliola, Willie Manu and Anthony Laffranchi.We are the champions.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Soliola, MakinsonGoals: Percival (3 from 3)Wigan:Tries: BurgessGoals: Smith (2 from 4)Penalties:Saints: 9Wigan: 6HT: 2-6FT: 14-6REF: Phil BenthamATT: 70,712Teams:Saints:17. Paul Wellens; 2. Tommy Makinson, 22. Mark Percival, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift; 15. Mark Flanagan, 6. Lance Hohaia; 16. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 8. Mose Masoe, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Sia Soliola, 3. Jordan Turner.Subs: 13. Willie Manu, 18. Alex Walmsley, 27. Greg Richards, 28. Luke Thompson.Wigan:1. Matty Bowen; 2. Josh Charnley, 5. Anthony Gelling, 23. Dan Sarginson, 32. Joe Burgess; 6. Blake Green, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Ben Flower, 19. Sam Powell, 17. Dominic Crosby, 11. Joel Tomkins, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.Subs: 22. Eddy Pettybourne, 24. Tony Clubb, 25. John Bateman, 27. George Williams.last_img read more

BEGIN your Saintly sticker collectionA special ed

BEGIN your Saintly sticker collectionA special ed

first_imgBEGIN your Saintly sticker collection!A special edition of Saints’ new look matchday magazine will be on sale this Sunday – and it features a large limited edition poster.As you progress through Super League XX you can collect stickers in order to create a unique special edition sticker poster.From our home opener with Catalan, in each home programme, will be two stickers which you affix to the poster.In all there are 32 to collect so by the end of the season you will have a fully completed limited edition poster!Sunday’s poster programme is priced at £1.50 and available from sellers around the ground as well as the Saints Superstore.It has an interview with new boy Travis Burns as well as Keiron Cunningham and a look at our opposition.This season we’ve linked up with Curtis Sport to produce a new look 84-page matchday magazine which will debut at the Catalans home opener on Friday February 6. It will be available at the usual price of £3.last_img read more

Superstore

Superstore

first_imgCheck out our ranges of replica shirts, trainingwear and gifts available in store and online and with plenty starting from just £1.99 we have something for all budgets!2019 Home and Away Shirts – the hugely popular designs have been big favorites with the fan base this season – view the range here.Summer Trainingwear range – our brand new O’Neills range featuring the iconic stickman motif – view the range here.Wallets – here Mugs – hereHats and Scarves – hereFather’s Day Cards – hereWe also sell gift cards that can be pre-loaded with spend to use online and in store.To find out more call into the Superstore at the Totally Wicked Stadium or log on here.The store is open for gameday and until 45 minutes after the final whistle of the game vs. Huddersfield Giants this Friday evening, aswell as 10am – 4pm on Saturday.last_img read more

Town says algae blooms not water treatment causes numerous dead fish

Town says algae blooms not water treatment causes numerous dead fish

first_img The town says the dead fish began appearing before the alum application began and a majority were found outside the area where alum was applied.The town says algae blooms are controlling the lake system and last week, the pH reached levels of 9 and above which can be lethal to fish.Click here to read more from the town. Dead fish washed ashore at White Lake (Photo: Curt Hursey) WHITE LAKE, NC (WWAY) — The Town of White Lake says very high pH levels from algae blooms and not the alum treatment is what led to the large number of dead fish in the lake.The state has temporarily suspended the alum application but the town says the state is not attributing the dead fish to the alum.- Advertisement – last_img

Woman hit killed on I40 in Pender County

Woman hit killed on I40 in Pender County

first_imgFatal crash on I-40 on 6/16/18. (Photo: Viewer) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Rocky Point woman standing beside her stranded car was struck and killed on I-40 over the weekend.The accident happened in the eastbound lanes of I-40 around 2:30 pm. Sunday.- Advertisement – According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, 43-year-old Lashawnya Green had a flat tire and was standing on the shoulder of the road.Marco Antonio Vega Lopez of Garland was driving a vehicle and attempted to change lanes. 1 of 3 Lopez then struck another vehicle driven by Melissa Lizbeth Cruz-Cruz of Rocky Point.Related Article: Numerous injuries reported in North Carolina school bus crashHighway Patrol says Cruz’s vehicle struck and killed Green.Lopez was charged with making an unsafe lane change and misdemeanor death by vehicle. Fatal crash on I-40 on 6/16/18. (Photo: Viewer) Marco Lopez (Photo: Pender Co. Sheriff’s Office) Fatal crash on I-40 on 6/16/18. (Photo: Viewer)last_img read more

Prowrestlers come to Wilmington

Prowrestlers come to Wilmington

first_img UPWA Owner Donald Brower and Professional Wrestler “The Stro” appeared on WWAY’s “Good Morning Carolina” Thursday morning.If you’re interested in going, Brower recommends purchasing tickets in advance by going online or you may buy them at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for kids accompanied by a paying adult. You may also call 973-796-0141 for tickets.A portion of proceeds from Saturday night’s ticket sales will be donated to the Big Buddy program, Brower said. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you’d like to see professional wrestlers in person, they’ll be in Wilmington this weekend for one night only.The United Professional Wrestling Association (UPWA) will host a Summer Showdown 2018 match at the National Guard Armory on Saturday, July 7.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Crane breaks free floats into Snows Cut Bridge

Crane breaks free floats into Snows Cut Bridge

first_img Police and fire responded and the DOT and the US Coast Guard were notified. Crane next to Snow’s Cut Bridge on Feb. 4, 2019. (Photo: Daniel Turner) CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A crane working on fenders at Snow’s Cut Bridge broke free and floated into the bridge over the weekend, according to the Town of Carolina Beach.According to Councilman JoDan Garza, the crane affected one lane of traffic for a short time Sunday.- Advertisement – last_img

More money heading to NC fishermen harmed by Florence

More money heading to NC fishermen harmed by Florence

first_img The compensation comes from a state hurricane relief package approved by lawmakers and Gov. Roy Cooper. The federal government also declared a disaster for the state’s marine fisheries industry, which can provide more aid to fishermen.Florence’s record rains and high winds in mid-September destroyed fishing boats, gear and buildings.Cooper says the state funds are an important boost for coastal regions and residents that rely on commercial fishing. (Photo: MGN Online) MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (AP) — More money is heading to North Carolina commercial fishermen whose landings were harmed by Hurricane Florence.The state Division of Marine Fisheries is sending out 1,000 checks totaling $7.2 million to compensate fishermen whose harvests fell in October and November due to the storm’s aftermath. Another 680 checks valued at $3.2 million already were distributed for September harvest reductions.- Advertisement – last_img read more