A LAWYER who suffers from rare seizures that can last for hours and make her appear dead has called on Edinburgh trams to stop restricting free travel for the disabled only to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Louyse McConnell-Trevillion, from Biggar in Lanarkshire, was thrown off the tram last summer after she tried to use the same travel pass that entitles her to free bus travel throughout Scotland.

Mrs McConnell-Trevillion, 51, who says she is a "big supporter" of having trams in the capital, was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) five years ago.

As well as extreme seizures, the condition also affects her bowel and bladder control.

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She said: "I got on at St Andrews Square and I made it as far as the next stop, which was outside Jenners. So I was on for about a minute and a half before being chucked off.

"I said I'd pay, but you can't buy tickets on the tram.

"I wasn't trying to be difficult, I was just trying to elicit an understanding of why my pass didn't work.

"The conductor just kept saying 'no' and eventually he wandered down the aisle and rather rudely shouted back at me 'You. Are. On. A. Tram. Not. A. Bus'. I'm thinking 'I may have a disability, but I still have a brain'.

"The reason I got on the tram was because I wanted to get to Waterstones quickly because I needed the toilet.

"When he threw me off the tram I was with my 17-year-old son and I was doubly incontinent in front of my son.

"It was so humiliating."

Mrs McConnell-Trevillion, who had to give up work as a Government human rights and constitutional lawyer due to her illness, stressed that there was no information at the tram stop making clear that disabled pass-holders could not travel for free.

She has since discovered that Edinburgh Trams only offer free travel to all disabled people if they are Edinburgh residents.

Disabled people from outwith the capital can only ride for free if they are blind or visually impaired.

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Mrs McConnell-Trevillion said the system is unfair and potentially breaches human rights' law.

She added: "It also disregards that a lot of disabled people commute into Edinburgh and contribute to the city's economy."

FND is a rare condition that affects around five in every 10,000 people.

Symptoms can appear similar to multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, but the cause is unclear.

Mrs McConnell-Trevillion was in her twenties when she first began suffering 'drop attacks' - where a person suddenly collapses without blacking out.

They became increasingly frequent and today she suffers full-blown seizures at least once a day which leave her temporarily mute and paralysed.

She said: "I have no idea when the seizures are coming on - I just 'drop dead', although I'm completely conscious. I can't speak, I can't respond, but I can still feel pain. It's hideous.

"Sometimes I've had paramedics doing tests on me and there's nothing I can do to tell them it hurts.

"I'll take at least one, if not up to three, a day. My longest sustained seizure was seven hours 15 minutes. They are quite painful as well."

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Mrs McConnell-Trevillion campaign has been backed by disability charity, Capability Scotland, and Labour Lothian MSP, Iain Gray.

Mr Gray said: "This situation is just daft. The Scottish Government refuse to include the trams in the national concessionary scheme because they say they are trains not buses, while COSLA has a concessionary scheme which only applies to visual impairment and no other disability.

"Each one blames the other, neither appears to care, and people with disabilities are the losers. It is a disgrace and someone, for example Transport Secretary needs to get a grip and sort this out."

Brian Logan, chief executive of Capability Scotland said it was a "hugely distressing" case and called on Edinburgh Trams to "urgently review" its policy.

He added: "Edinburgh Trams has done a good job in making the trams accessible to those with disabilities.

"It therefore seems illogical that disabled people from outside Edinburgh should be denied free travel, especially when it already applies to those who are blind or visually impaired."

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said it was for councils to set policy.

He said: "Local authorities have discretion to operate concessionary travel schemes in their area, or joint schemes with neighbouring local authorities, for modes of transport other than bus.

"The terms and extent of any such schemes are for local authorities to determine taking into account local needs and circumstances."

Dean Anderson, Customer Experience Manager at Edinburgh Trams said: “The National Entitlement Card supported by the Scottish Government does not currently offer access to tram services.

"However, to enable Edinburgh residents to fully benefit from their tramway, the Council financially supports the operator for card holders who use tram services.

“Accessibility is very important to us at Edinburgh Trams. I was disappointed to read about this customer’s recent experience and would welcome the opportunity to hear more to help us learn from it.”