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Author Topic: Disabled customer "humiliated by GWR staff"  (Read 15953 times)
ChrisB
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2016, 01:42:54 pm »

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.

Absolutely, and I indicated so much about the staff at Burnham above.
LU is staffed far better than GWR stations. The DfT need to stipulate requirements in the franchise, end of really.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2016, 01:45:08 pm »

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.

Calls to stations ahead can, and do, get made frequently. 

Why GWR can't work like that is beyond me!

We need to remember that GWR deals with 100's of assistance requests per day, both booked and not booked, the vast majority of which go perfectly.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2016, 01:48:48 pm »

Quite - down to training at Burnham (but is that station manned all day?)
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eightf48544
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2016, 02:46:02 pm »

Burnham has by the way been slated for revamping with lifts, by Crosrail?

There was discussion of this very issue on R4 Today this am with regard to Southern, on the whole question of who gives assistance  to board  from on train staff whether they were called guard, train manager, supervisor etc.

The interesting point was made that by 2020 all trains will be "accessible " and that on board staff will be expected to help disabled board the train. This it was suggested  included the driver on DOO trains. It was also implied that disabled passengers would be able to "Turn up and go" if they could get on the platform. No mention of station staff.

However, it seems to me that the issue has  not been thought through, DOO and an unmanned station who picks up the delay minutes?

Unfortunately I don't have any answers unless  the whole country adopts TFLs approach of manning stations for the full service. Which will include Burnham when it becomes Crossrail.

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ChrisB
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2016, 03:25:30 pm »

Crossrail is a TfL contract, so staffing from 1st to last train. Whether that includes platform staff, I don't know but would imagine multi-skilled possibly that can work there.

"by 2020", you mean an EU Directive to be implemented by that date - which of course, will not apply to the UK unless the UK Government re-confirm after Brexit is concluded.
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Billhere
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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2016, 05:16:27 pm »

I think there are a few issues here before it all gets a bit heated.

I see from the Slough Observor report that she was in a mobility scooter. What size was it because there are restrictions anyway on the size allowed to be carried? According to the GWR Assisted travel and Accessibility information if it exceeded 65cm wide it cannot be carried on a Turbo. I had the unpleasant job many years ago of telling a lady passenger that she wasn't allowed to travel from Hungerford to Newbury with her four wheel scooter because it was too large. And that was after she kicked up a real stink about access and assistance as here.

Only when it was looked into properly was it discovered it was oversize anyway and not allowed and she was refused travel with it.               

That same document also advises to arrive thirty minutes early and request assistance from staff. Was that done?

Please correct me if I am wrong but isn't Burnham an island platform which requires access via stairs from a subway under the tracks so there would be no access for anybody who isn't able enough to climb stairs. Here is an excerpt from the FGW site on facilities at Burnham.

Staff Help Available
Monday to Friday – 06:10 to 19:30 Saturday – 08:10 to 15:00 Sunday – 09:15 to 16:45 Staff assistance is available; please request assistance from any member of staff if you have not booked assistance in advance. Please note station is staffed part time only.

This station does not offer
Accessible Booking Office Counter, Accessible Public Telephones, Accessible Taxis, Accessible Ticket Machines, Impaired Mobility Set Down, Ramp For Train Access, Step Free Access, Wheelchairs Available

Funnily enough the article also says she was on her first journey in a scooter from Burnham to London. Really?

There are too many inaccuracies in the report to believe it one hundred per sent. As for the rudeness of staff quite often that is the resort of those wanting to really hammer home their complaint knowing that those allegedly concerned will never get their say.

Hard, yes, well afraid so. Stand by for the flack, but a little bit of research would have found that her journey wasn't possible. Everybody will help everybody if they can, but I think this has been stretched a bit.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2016, 05:38:23 pm »


Funnily enough the article also says she was on her first journey in a scooter from Burnham to London. Really?


Nichola Charvis, from Burnham, said her confidence was destroyed as she made her first solo journey in her wheelchair from Burnham to London Paddington.
Miss Charvis, 31, suffers from a neurological condition which means it is difficult for her to walk. She attempted the journey on Wednesday last week to try and build confidence having only been wheelchair-bound since July
.

I'm not sure what's "really?" about that, unless on top of everything else you're calling her a liar?

If so, it's rather strange that GWR, having (presumably) investigated rather than just speculated, have apologised and admitted that "We’re really sorry Nichola had a bad experience travelling with us, this did fall short of the standards we set to provide for our customers".

Anyhow no doubt her confidence is totally shattered now, and it'll no doubt be a relief to certain members of the GWR fraternity that they will probably have one less pesky disabled person to deal with.

Is it really so painful for the GWR/railway advocates on here to admit that maybe, just maybe, the railways get it wrong sometimes and need to up their game? (especially as the Company admits this is the case) - you will probably find that the sky doesn't fall in.

Let's all hope for our own sakes that we never find ourselves in the same position.
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2016, 05:42:30 pm »

This raises an interesting question - how do you differentiate between a mobility scooter and a powered wheelchair? Do the equal opportunities law even permit making this differentiation this if the user is registered as disabled?
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2016, 06:49:39 pm »

Mobility Scooters are not permitted on buses. Is it the same with the trains? Or was it an electric wheelchair being misreported?

Mobility Scooter:



Electric Wheelchair:



In all honesty if I was new to a wheelchair I would be researching accessibility before I make any journey to ensure it is possible, no stairs, lift or level access. It sounds like she lacked responsibility for planning her trip, and the railway lacked customer service to her travel.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2016, 06:58:34 pm »

That's effectively what I was saying badly
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Billhere
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« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2016, 07:11:36 pm »

Nichola Charvis, from Burnham, said her confidence was destroyed as she made her first solo journey in her wheelchair from Burnham to London Paddington.
Miss Charvis, 31, suffers from a neurological condition which means it is difficult for her to walk. She attempted the journey on Wednesday last week to try and build confidence having only been wheelchair-bound since July.

I'm not sure what's "really?" about that, unless on top of everything else you're calling her a liar?


No, I am not because if you read the article further she was said to be travelling from London to Burnham. So, how did she get to London to travel back, it certainly wasn't from Burnham because as it appears that Burnham has no facility for dealing with disabled passengers. Reading it again it may have been from Slough where they have disabled facilities, so why try travelling to Burnham where they haven't.

If so, it's rather strange that GWR, having (presumably) investigated rather than just speculated, have apologised and admitted that "We’re really sorry Nichola had a bad experience travelling with us, this did fall short of the standards we set to provide for our customers".

The usual corporate response when dealing with a reporter who demands a quick answer with little time to provide a considered and investigated response, although we don't know the time frame for that.

Is it really so painful for the GWR/railway advocates on here to admit that maybe, just maybe, the railways get it wrong sometimes and need to up their game? (especially as the Company admits this is the case) - you will probably find that the sky doesn't fall in.

Everybody gets it wrong sometimes, but it is easy to present a one sided case and blame the system as a whole.

Let's all hope for our own sakes that we never find ourselves in the same position.

Indeed, but if it does I will be investigating the in and outs of everything before I venture out. As richardwickwar says "In all honesty if I was new to a wheelchair I would be researching accessibility before I make any journey to ensure it is possible, no stairs, lift or level access. It sounds like she lacked responsibility for planning her trip, and the railway lacked customer service to her travel" Exactly.

Too many unanswered questions due to lack of information and poor reporting. I am afraid public transport is an easy target and will be leapt upon by the press.

Protective, yes I suppose so, but I am an advocate of fairness, and this is certainly very unfair, it isn't all the railways fault.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2016, 08:55:58 pm »

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this particular case, the deeper issue illustrated is to what extent public transport should be fit to carry electric wheelchairs (and smaller mobility scooters*), and how accessible public transport should be for wheelchair users without assistance.

*It's my understanding that mobility scooters come in two basic types: small, slow ones for use on pavements and large, fast(er) ones to be used on roads – these have lights and indicators.
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Day return to Infinity, please.
ChrisB
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« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2016, 09:18:42 pm »

The road-going ones aren't permitted in shopping centres/shops, so why on public transport? They are made for roads....

Secondly, the age of trains exceed the life design of these 'vehicles'. So maybe design new trains to accept? But by the time they appear on the eails, they'll have redesigned these vehicles. You couldn't win
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dviner
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« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2016, 12:21:06 am »

Having been a regular user of Burnham station in the past, when I saw it mentioned in conjunction with wheelchairs my first thought was that there would be tears before bedtime...

Small island platform on an embankment accessed by stairs. If I remember correctly, it was quite a step between the platform and the train as well. That's one wheelchair-unfriendly station.

Here's a thought - perhaps the staff at Burnham being "unhelpful" may have been due to it being a really bad idea to get a wheelchair (or mobility scooter) off the train, as they don't have a ramp*, and would then be faced with getting wheelchair and occupant down the stairs.

Meanwhile, both Slough and Maidenhead both have lifts, ramps and level access.

I've a feeling that a wheelchair user would be faced with a similar situation if they were travelling northbound to my local station - once they got off they'd be faced with a serious footbridge to negotiate up and down. Easier to go to the next station up and use the (relatively recently installed) lifts to switch to the southbound platform and catch the next southbound-stopper.

*http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/BNM/details.html
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2016, 09:36:29 am »

According to the report, she only ended up at Burnham because no-one had helped her off the train at Slough, despite informing staff at Paddington prior to departure.

I do wish posters would absorb all the primary details reported upon before commenting.
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