"Shameful discrimination by ATAC against the disabled."
Rome's public transport company ATAC has apologised after a commuter in a wheelchair was left stranded on a subway platform at the capital's central train station Termini.
The commuter, lawyer Dario Dongo, had wanted to transfer from Metro A to Metro B but found that the elevators were out of order, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
In the end, he explains, "with the support of many good people who lifted me up, I managed to get to the platform of Metro A."
When Dongo reached his destination at Flaminio, again he had to rely on the kindness of strangers to carry him up to street level, as the lifts there were also broken down.
The lawyer described the incident, which took place on the afternoon of 22 February, as "shameful discrimination by ATAC against the disabled."
He also said that it wasn't the first time that he has been stuck in the subway due to non-functioning stairlifts and elevators:
"I have already filed three complaints and it is not excluded that the fourth is for what happened to me yesterday. It is not just about disabilities: there could be elderly people, people with heart problems, parents with strollers."
In a statement ATAC apologised both to Dongo personally and for the "serious" incident that occurred in Termini, reports Rome online newspaper RomaToday.
The company said that it had been necessary to close down the lifts "for precautionary reasons" after it was discovered that "water was leaking into the elevators from the outside."
ATAC assured that it "expected to resolve the problem soon" and underlined that it has made "considerable progress" in recent years in the management and maintenance of lifts in Rome's subway stations.
Photo La Repubblica
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Rome's central train station with no lifts: commuters carry wheelchair user
Piazza dei Cinquecento, 1, 00185 Roma RM, Italy