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I-drive Disability News Updates: Cruise-liner proceeds with mobility equipment policy despite complaint

P&O Cruises is to proceed with a new mobility scooter policy despite complaints from a disabled passenger, according to a report in Travel Weekly.

Under the plans, disabled passengers will be required to store wheelchairs and mobility scooters in their cabin from summer 2013.

Customer Neil Owen made a complaint after receiving a letter from P&O saying such items could no longer be left “outside of cabins, in public walkways, stairwells or any other place where they would pose a risk to the safety of anybody on board in the case of an emergency situation”.

Other than collapsible wheelchairs, which P&O advised can be stored in any cabin, any larger equipment or mobility scooters may require passengers to book from a “limited number” of wheelchair accessible cabins, or upgrade to a suite or mini suite at additional cost.

Mr Owen highlighted that he had bought a folding mobility scooter in order to store it away in a cabin wardrobe, but P&O said this would not be permitted in a standard cabin under the new policy as it might lead to complaints from other customers “about a perceived inconsistency of approach”.

He described having to pay extra for a disabled cabin or suite as an “appalling state of affairs”.

A P&O spokesperson told Travel Weekly: “Our policy was put together based on guidance from qualified risk assessors, legal firms specialising in disability issues, and feedback from various disability bodies including some of our regular passengers who have some involvement in this area.

“We can only apologise if Mr Owen remains dissatisfied but for the time being, we are not in a position to make any changes to the policy.”

Meanwhile, our regular guest blogger Professor Peter Cooke has said that “information and planning are key to minimising the impact of restricted mobility” while travelling.

I-drive is the new information portal for disabled drivers from Adapted Vehicle Hire. For more on Adapted Vehicle Hire and the services it offers, visit the homepage.