Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum Great Western Coffee Shop - [home] and [about]
Read about the forum [here].
Register and contribute [here] - it's free.
 today - Bus consultation closes
today - RCTS / Windsor & Maidenhead
26/09/2018 - Bristol transport strategy .
28/09/2018 - Ask a stupid question day
29/09/2018 - IWA AGM Stonehouse
01/10/2018 - Access for all bids close
Random Image
Train Running @GWR Twitter Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail News GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4 Chat on off
September 24, 2018, 10:31:37 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[103] Great Western Railway: on-board catering, buffets, Travelling ...
[95] Approaches to looking after your customers - a contrast in phi...
[77] For an important meeting - what would be the mode of your choi...
[50] Major disruption Bristol Newport 22/9/2018
[34] Six of the worst
[32] Intercity Express Train (IET) failure, near Exeter, 13 Septemb...
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Disabled access requirements and their impact on staffing disputes  (Read 451 times)
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3347


View Profile
« on: August 14, 2018, 05:38:42 pm »

It struck me some time ago that the current disputes about staffing on trains, and the related topic (or it should be) of staffing on stations, will soon be overtaken by tightening requirements for disabled access. That conviction has been getting stronger, and this morning a news item on BBC news (South Today, I think, though it has national implications) has the potential to give that idea media prominence.

This was based on this piece (dated 1st August) from the Disability Rights UK:
Quote
01 August 2018
Freedom of information request shows Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) issued warning over two years ago.

DPTAC wrote a letter to Peter Wilkinson, the Department for Transport’s Managing Director of Passenger services saying:

 “We question how older and disabled people, and particularly those who suffer from acute anxiety and mental health issues, can travel when there are effectively no customer service staff on the train or on the station. On this point we know that the toxic combination of driver-only operated trains and unstaffed stations fails to deliver a service that meets the needs of many disabled passengers. As a result, DPTAC is seeking a guarantee that such policies cannot undermine the fundamental principle of accessibility – which would in any event be illegal.”

Rail Sector Champion Stephen Brookes, who attended the launch of the Department for Transport Inclusive Transport strategy noted the clear point in the document saying, 'in addition to staffing levels on the railway, we also recognise the importance of accessible facilities on board trains.'

He also noted that the strategy says 'the newest trains on our network free up staff to allow them more time to help passengers' so this does mean a real clarity is now required to ensure on board staff are recognised as a key part of rail travel.

He said:

“I am discussing with various operators the impact and their positions on this and will be working with the Department for Transport and the Rail Delivery Group to get the facts right.”

That was picked up by Rail News, who added some extra detail and reactions from RMT and DfT:

Quote
...
The letter to Mr Wilkinson was obtained by the Association of British Commuters under the Freedom of Information Act.

The RMT is striking again today on South Western Railway, in a dispute over the staffing of trains. More walkouts have been called during August.

The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: “These documents show that the government’s own advisors warned over two years ago that driver only trains are toxic for disabled and older passengers. This is a problem that will be exacerbated on companies like South Western where 70 per cent of stations are unstaffed.

“This revelation follows similar warnings contained in other documents that have been leaked from the industry. They are a massive concern, especially when we have an ageing population and one in five of the population reporting a disability. Despite this, the likes of South Western and their puppet master Chris Grayling, are pressing ahead with a callous and criminal disregard for the needs of vulnerable passengers.”

The DfT responded: “Disabled passengers must have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society, and it is essential that the services they rely on are accessible and work for them.

“With modern trains the driver is responsible for operating the doors, leaving the second crew member free to spend more time helping passengers, including people who need assistance getting on and off the train.

“The Transport Secretary has been clear that with a growing railway we need more staff, not fewer. On Southern - the only operator to introduce these changes since January 2017 – there are now more trains that run with a second crew member than before the changes were introduced.”

That last point (whatever it means, statistically) reminds us that the term "DOO" as currently used is ambiguous. I think its technical sense (as used by TOCs, in the main) is that a train could operate with only a driver and no other staff on board or on the platform.  Whether trains do - sometimes, mostly, or always barring unavoidable absences - have other staff on board, or whether all stations are staffed, is a separate question for which we don't have an equivalent label. RMT, of course, prefer to keep this issue confused, and talk about safety instead.
Logged
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3347


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2018, 05:52:46 pm »

On the topic of DOO and its acceptability, RSSB have done two bits of research recently. Both are quite limited, being desk studies of accident statistics and nothing more. They should of course not be represented as anything else.

The first, last year, was only about risks in trains dispatch. This was thier summary:
Quote
Based on recent GB industry-standard evidence, safety levels are as good for passengers who board and alight from trains without a guard being present as they are for those using other services.

This review of available data looked at the risk to passengers as they enter and leave train carriages and as the train departs from a platform when no guard is present and the driver controls the opening and closing of doors (known as driver controlled operation (DCO), and sometimes also referred to as driver only operation or (DOO)).

The report concludes that levels of risk across all forms of dispatch are low.

The second, this year, looked at other risks related to the presence of staff on board, concluding (in part):

Quote
This report considers, in addition to train dispatch, the other scenarios where auxiliary on-board staff would traditionally be expected to play a part, including on-board assaults to passengers, protecting the line in an emergency, and dealing with or preventing uncontrolled evacuation.

All of these risks are small and not significant when compared to the general risks associated with managing and operating the railway.
Logged
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3347


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2018, 12:34:35 am »

Tonight's BBC local news had a longer version of the same report, stating pretty clearly that driver-only trains (I think that was the phrase) had been rolled out across the whole Southern network. They ended with the same quote as before (though citing Southern as the source) about more trains having another staff member on board. No attempt was made to explain this apparent flat contradiction, so who knows what most people made of it.

The full text of that DPTAC letter is available from the RMT. It does not really support what's being said now, as it has almost nothing about physical help with getting on and off, and rather more about those who suffer from acute anxiety and mental health issues. However, most of it is about DfT's influence on TOCs via franchise conditions and selection scoring, and generally encouraging more disabled passengers to use trains.
Logged
Clan Line
Full Member
***
Posts: 56



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2018, 07:05:36 pm »

"The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: This is a problem that will be exacerbated on companies like South Western where 70 per cent of stations are unstaffed."

Is this an accurate statement ?
Logged
stuving
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 3347


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 07:20:05 pm »

"The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: This is a problem that will be exacerbated on companies like South Western where 70 per cent of stations are unstaffed."

Is this an accurate statement ?

I guess it depends what time of day you ask.
Logged
Clan Line
Full Member
***
Posts: 56



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2018, 09:52:47 am »

"The union’s general secretary Mick Cash said: This is a problem that will be exacerbated on companies like South Western where 70 per cent of stations are unstaffed."

Is this an accurate statement ?

I guess it depends what time of day you ask.

Ah ! You don't know either.... Grin Grin
Logged
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants