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Author Topic: Disabled customer "humiliated by GWR staff"  (Read 16072 times)
TaplowGreen
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« on: September 23, 2016, 09:18:02 am »

http://www.sloughobserver.co.uk/news/14746316.Train_provider_apologises_after_disabled_woman_was_left__humiliated__at_treatment_from_rail_staff/?ref=fbshr

Not a good way to treat disabled customers, and this has attracted a lot of attention locally.

At least there is an apology.

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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2016, 09:28:54 am »

But did she research the facilities / method recommended on the requisite websites, being recently disabled?

A coach/flight journey would have been the same if she had just rocked up without discussing her situation in advance. I have some sympathy with the train company - but the staff at Burnham should have used some initiative.
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trainer
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2016, 09:30:51 am »

The official response although containing an apology and an explanation of what should have happened doesn't address the matter of the staff attitude, which of course we only have one side of and may be coloured by high emotion and the humiliation felt. Having not dealt with the situation correctly (and I cannot tell where fault lies with that) any frustration that the staff had at being put in a difficult position should have been taken out away from the paying customer.

Incidentally, are there no ramps to go from the platform to the train at any of these stations?  I don't understand why one wasn't deployed causing non-railway staff to be involved in a lift of the wheelchair.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2016, 09:35:49 am »

Maybe there was only a booking office clerk - with additional help being provided if booked through customer care as suggested on their website.

As I said, it looks very likely that the person simply rocked up unannounced. She ought to have had the options supplied, which I suspect from Burnham is a taxi to Slough where level access with lifts is the norm.
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2016, 09:50:22 am »

Maybe there was only a booking office clerk - with additional help being provided if booked through customer care as suggested on their website.

As I said, it looks very likely that the person simply rocked up unannounced. She ought to have had the options supplied, which I suspect from Burnham is a taxi to Slough where level access with lifts is the norm.

Can I suggest you read the article with a little more care:

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But she claims staff did not help her off the train in London, and despite informing Great Western Railway (GWR) staff at Paddington of her destination on the way home, nobody greeted her at Slough station to help her disembark.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2016, 09:53:57 am »

I think the instructions are to book ahead, not on travel?
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2016, 10:06:31 am »

I think the instructions are to book ahead, not on travel?

Travel time Paddington to Slough (a permanently staffed station I expect?) is what, 20-25 minutes or so?

One simple phone call from Paddington to Slough is all that is needed, even if it is slightly contrary to the rules, surely someone could be waiting to help this lady off the train by the time it arrives?

FFS, she is in a wheelchair (and not been for long - maybe she hasn't found the minuscule print on some well hidden web page yet), bend the bloody rules a bit, use some initiative and do the decent human thing and help someone.  Roll Eyes

Also this from network rails web page about Slough station:

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Staff assistance is available; please request assistance from any member of staff if you have not booked assistance in advance.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2016, 10:08:21 am »

ChrisB - perhaps you might try to move out of what appears to be your default space where the customer is always wrong, and perhaps consider that having been recently confined to a wheelchair, slavishly following the processes and procedures of a railway company to the letter may not be top of her list?

It's very easy to fold your arms, take a position and tap the rulebook..............but better by far to work around the customer and in this case, take it on the chin and show a bit of compassion rather than constantly looking for ways to find a reason not to.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2016, 10:22:53 am »

I'm referring to the public habit of buying something for the first time & not bothering to understand the process of how it works - laptops/IT being another example - pax seem to think it all works out of the box without needing to understand how it all works - and then scream when something goes wrong. If they'd bother to read the manual, most of it is in there (yes, I know manuals tend to be online)

Spend a few minutes or so reading up & everything goes a lot more smoothly - in many ways of life. But people can't be ar*ed to find that time, and assume they can always get immediate answers to their sloveness.

I very much doubt a call could be put in to Slough within 20 minutes frankly - the person asked wouldn't be able to leave the place of work, may not even have access to the Paddington offices to make the call, or even have a radio to ask someone else with a radio in a position to make that call. The railway is set up to run trains, especially at rail hubs - they don't have staff sitting around waiting to make these type of calls.

That is why I have some sympathy with Rail companies in this case. If you want immediate responses to things like this then someone needs to pay for it....in the meantime, an acceptable process is in place, ansd pax need to know that they need to follow it for a seamless journey.

I suspect this passenger is still proud of her independence & failed to realise that her newly found disability means loss of some of this.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2016, 10:43:18 am »

I'm referring to the public habit of buying something for the first time & not bothering to understand the process of how it works - laptops/IT being another example - pax seem to think it all works out of the box without needing to understand how it all works - and then scream when something goes wrong. If they'd bother to read the manual, most of it is in there (yes, I know manuals tend to be online)

Spend a few minutes or so reading up & everything goes a lot more smoothly - in many ways of life. But people can't be ar*ed to find that time, and assume they can always get immediate answers to their sloveness.

I very much doubt a call could be put in to Slough within 20 minutes frankly - the person asked wouldn't be able to leave the place of work, may not even have access to the Paddington offices to make the call, or even have a radio to ask someone else with a radio in a position to make that call. The railway is set up to run trains, especially at rail hubs - they don't have staff sitting around waiting to make these type of calls.

That is why I have some sympathy with Rail companies in this case. If you want immediate responses to things like this then someone needs to pay for it....in the meantime, an acceptable process is in place, ansd pax need to know that they need to follow it for a seamless journey.

I suspect this passenger is still proud of her independence & failed to realise that her newly found disability means loss of some of this.

It really beggars belief that attitudes like this still exist, especially from someone who works in a public service industry......it is 2016 by the way Chris.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2016, 10:47:16 am »

I don't work in a public service industry....I don't recollect any public discussion on a change in public attitudes surrounding this. The expectations seem to have changed willy-nilly, without agreement. I don't have a problem per se, but allowances have to be made while the service sector catch up (and decide how it's paid for!)
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Tim
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2016, 11:55:01 am »

Sure she should have booked ahead and failure to do that might excuse that no one was waiting to help at Slough.  It doesn't excuse a refusal to help her at Burnham.  If someone turns up needing help whether or not they are expected, trying to help them as best you can should be a natural human response and if staff at Burham don't have that attitude then they ought not to be in a customer service industry. 

 
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lordgoata
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2016, 12:09:57 pm »

I'm referring to the public habit of buying something for the first time & not bothering to understand the process of how it works

No one understands how anything on the railways work anyway. Before I started reading this forum I had dreams of travelling around the country on the trains. Since reading these forums, I can't think of anything worse due to all the bloody rules, byelaws and whatever other stuff is buried away that I don't know or understand, for fear of being strung up for misunderstanding or having wildly over the top expectations.

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The railway is set up to run trains

Silly me, I thought it was set up to serve its customers!


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ChrisB
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2016, 12:18:09 pm »

It does, and does, but if expectations change reasonably quickly without dialogue, of course they'll be left behind to catch up. You show me a (quasi-)monopoly / publicly-owned company that doesn't catch up & actually changes expectations of their customers (for the better, obviously)
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2016, 01:30:30 pm »

Sure she should have booked ahead and failure to do that might excuse that no one was waiting to help at Slough. 

As I quoted earlier, even network rails own website states that if you have not booked assistance in advance, to just ask any member of staff, which indicates no requirement for advance booking. There are help points at Slough where assistance could be summoned if no staff on platforms. This lady could well have referred to the very same information that I found. Therefore, I think whether she actually did the research or not, the fact that you clearly do not need to book assistance in advance squarely puts the ball in network rail and GWR's court and the apology from GWR is entirely justified.

I agree that anyone with an ounce of humanity should naturally want to help, as demonstrated by the folk who helped her on and off the train without question - the best approach in this instance would be to help her out and provide the information on how to book assistance for her future use.

It really shouldn't be that difficult - London Underground are fantastic when I have seen blind or obviously disabled people arrive at a tube station - they are usually scooped up at the ticket barrier and escorted on to the train with the driver requested to wait until they're safely seated. Staff member always asks their destination and calls through to that station for the process to be reversed. Always done with dignity. Why GWR can't work like that is beyond me!
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