A number of clients and staff members at Burton Street Foundation, Sheffield, have expressed their concerns that using trams is problematic for wheelchair users.

They explain the accessible doorway of the tram is not level with the platform, so it often causes issues for its users to get on the tram without the aid of physical assistance. 

Megan Leonard, from the Burton Street Foundation, recalled how she observed a wheelchair user, only last week, trying in vain with her support staff, to get onto the tram. 

The passenger became embarrassed after several failed attempts, even with Miss Leonard’s assistance. This meant the distressed passenger had to get off and find an alternative route.

South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and South Yorkshire Supertram Ltd stated that they do not provide any staff at tram stops to assist with boarding, as these are level boarding services.

Additionally, front-of-house employees are delivered via a third party but the staff don’t carry a qualification in dealing with disabilities. However, they do receive adequate training such as disability awareness and safer places training.  

Wheelchair user, Dee Smith, 25,  from Stocksbridge, was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia (FRDA), at 19 years old and now avoids using Sheffield trams said: “They don’t have the thought process for the small important things that matter to wheelchair-bound people, you feel like a burden. I’m a human being in a wheelchair, not an alien.” 


Changes and reductions in bus routes have also left Miss Smith unable to rely on buses to get around. 

While she praises that bus services are highly reliant and provide good care for less able-bodied people, she said that bus route changes have caused issues.

In 2022, Stagecoach, who operated the number 57 bus service, replaced it with the 57 Stocksbridge flyer. While this change has created an extension through to Sheffield city centre, with hourly services running on evenings and Sundays, it has changed its route from Middlewood Road to Dykes Hall Road. 

Positively, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) has made/will make significant improvements at their bus interchanges such as: 

Refurbishments of the accessible toilet at Sheffield Interchange, Arundel Gate information centre

Improved information screen at the Main entrance at Sheffield Interchange 

Consulted with the accessibility group about changing floor tiles around the information points at Rotherham interchange.

Additionally, SYMCA has been awarded a grant of £71,334 for a project at Meadowhall Interchange for a Mobility Scooter Hire Trial. 


Sheffield train station, which is owned by Network Rail, and currently leased to East Midlands Railway, is a major transport link to many areas of the UK. 

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Sheffield is a major station and is fully accessible, with step-free access to the concourse and ticket hall, as well as lifts to all platforms and tactile paving at the end of each platform. There are also accessible ticket machines and toilets.”

Stuart Richie, a wheelchair user from Burngreave, praises Sheffield train station. 

He said: “[The staff at Sheffield Train Station] couldn’t have been more helpful, my experience was few and far between.”

A South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority spokesperson said: “We are working with accessibility groups and industry partners to improve access for everyone at our bus and rail stations.

“Together, we are improving access, toilet facilities, signage, waiting areas and passenger information displays at our rail stations as part of a £3.5 million investment package at 11 South Yorkshire stations, using funds from our Transforming Cities Fund bid and Network Rail’s Access For All fund.

“We have made £11k of accessibility improvements and refurbished facilities at our bus interchanges, including passenger information screens at Sheffield Interchange and to the accessible toilets at Sheffield and Arundel Gate.

“At Meadowhall Interchange, a new scheme is about to start to extend the Park & Ride area, with new family and disabled parking bays and we will be consulting on the provision of a mobility hub and a £71.3k mobility scooter hire trial facility.

“We will continue to work with our partners and others to secure funds to create an open, accessible transport network for everyone living, working or visiting South Yorkshire.”

However, according to Network Rail’s annual report and accounts, who own the land at Sheffield railway station, they are not allocating funds towards improving and maintaining infrastructure to aid disabled people.

But, ongoing work includes:


  • Platform 1 waiting room WC refurbishment (should be completed by April 2023)
  • Portable Accessibility Ramps installed between Platforms 1 & 2 (already installed)
  • Scooter trial (to launch later this year)


  • Portable Accessibility Ramps (to be installed in the next few weeks)


  • Remove platform drainage channel and replace with ACO (removes a potential trip hazard)
  • Some resurfacing works on the accessible ramp to Platform 1
  • Tactile wayfinding labels installed on handrails in SYMCA car park (already installed across rest of station)


  •  A fully accessible waiting shelter is being installed on Platform 1
  • Accessible drop-off/pick-up shelter installed on the station approach
  • Tactile wayfinding labels installed on all handrails across all station
  •  Some resurfacing works on the accessible ramp to Platform 1
  • Digital CIS to be renewed