Disabled Passenger Over-Carried

Essexman

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I’ve just seen a disabled passenger over-carried from Romford to Stratford because they were in the rear coach and only nine out of ten fit in the platform (although passengers for Romford are told to board the front six).

Station staff did their best but the wheelchair was too wide to bring through the train and they were told to leave the person on to Stratford.

Presumably drawing the train forward would have taken too long or isn’t possible for operational reasons (signal, door locking?).

The train was delayed by about six minutes and the two following also slightly delayed by signals.

The Romford staff couldn’t understand why a wheelchair had been put in the rear coach (presumably with assistance).

I wondered if an incident like this would be investigated to prevent a recurrence?
 
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Bletchleyite

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I wonder if the passenger had booked assistance. I'd be very confused if this wasn't picked up and assistance had been booked.

I've seen enough assistance fails and screw-ups that I would completely believe it. It is simply not taken anywhere near seriously enough; a good many staff seem to treat it as a nuisance.
 

Tractor86

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Very bad form on the TOC’s end and I would hope it would be investigated. Though I wouldn’t hold my breath.
 

Astro_Orbiter

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Where is the Wheelchair space on whatever stock that was? Someone clearly made a mistake placing that person in that location.
 

43066

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I've seen enough assistance fails and screw-ups that I would completely believe it. It is simply not taken anywhere near seriously enough; a good many staff seem to treat it as a nuisance.

I’ve seen a good few many too and I think that assessment is a little too damning. In my experience most staff take it very seriously and generally the system works pretty well. As always on the railway communication (or lack thereof) is the Achilles heel that, despite the best intentions of all concerned, can lead to unfortunate situations like that described above.

That’s not to take away from the fact that clearly an error (a bad one) was made in the case the OP is referring to.
 

Essexman

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What TOC and unit was it?
Greater Anglia.

I don’t know the unit type but it was one of the new trains. It had come from Southend and was made up of two sets of five, so there must have been a wheelchair space in the front unit.

I wonder if the passenger had booked assistance. I'd be very confused if this wasn't picked up and assistance had been booked.
I assume they had booked assistance because Romford staff were waiting with the ramp.
 

Bletchleyite

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I’ve seen a good few many too and I think that assessment is a little too damning. In my experience most staff take it very seriously and generally the system works pretty well. As always on the railway communication (or lack thereof) is the Achilles heel that, despite the best intentions of all concerned, can lead to unfortunate situations like that described above.

I'm afraid I will have to disagree. The system is poor and not fit for purpose. So much so that were I in need of assistance I would not use rail at all, other than those TOCs providing level boarding.

It will never work adequately until:-
1. A specific, named individual takes personal responsibility for the assisted person at every step of the journey.
2. Hand-off must be in person, with the previous named individual and new named individual both present in sight and earshot of the assistance user to "sign out" and introduce themselves respectively.
3. The current named individual must not "abandon" the assisted person, e.g. leave the train to go and drive the next one, until such time as a handover as per (2) has been conducted. Nor may a driver depart from the station where the assisted passenger is to disembark until (2) has been conducted.
4. No situation must be allowed to arise where the assisted person is not in the care of a specific, named individual, between the point of presenting themselves for assistance and the point of leaving the train at the destination and the named individual having confirmed that all lifts etc to exit the station are in working order.

(3) must apply in all circumstances, even (arguably especially) an emergency evacuation.

Yes, it's onerous, but otherwise we fail vulnerable people.

Best get the level boarding sorted, hadn't they?
 
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Aictos

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I'm afraid I will have to disagree. The system is poor and not fit for purpose. So much so that were I in need of assistance I would not use rail at all, other than those TOCs providing level boarding.
That's your opinion but frankly the system is fit for purpose and has been used by countless people who require assistance who's actually had a good experience, yes you might get the odd one but largely and by far the system is nowhere near as bad as you would have the forum believe hence why I fully agree with @43066 post above.
 

Caleb2010

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I’ve found that when passenger assist works well it’s absolutely brilliant, as has already been said - the staff providing assistance are generally great and dedicated, polite and helpful.

The booking facility has just had an overhaul and with the passenger able to request assistance direct on the app, there’s less chance of a mistake!

Mistakes happen though and they always will. I’ve requested the buggy at Kings Cross before only for there to be no-one booked on who could drive it.

Yes, it still needs work but it’s not a bad system. There are many more success stories than mistakes- you just don’t hear about them
 

Ianno87

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I've seen a similar issue on the Jubilee Line. A passenger hurriedly put on the first available door at London Bridge (Well meaning, to get them on the first train)...forgetting that assistance to get them off at the older Green Park station was waiting at the "hump", so they could not alight.
 

Alfie1014

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The ‘accessible’ space on a class 720 is in one of the end driving vehicles. When the trains were being designed it was suggested that this would be better placed in the centre car of the five as on cl700. The response was that the London end of a unit was preferable and that units wouldn’t get turned!
 

43066

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I'm afraid I will have to disagree. The system is poor and not fit for purpose. So much so that were I in need of assistance I would not use rail at all, other than those TOCs providing level boarding.

The current system when it works is fine, which it does in the majority of cases (which of course we never hear about).


It will never work adequately until:-
1. A specific, named individual takes personal responsibility for the assisted person at every step of the journey.
2. Hand-off must be in person, with the previous named individual and new named individual both present in sight and earshot of the assistance user to "sign out" and introduce themselves respectively.
3. The current named individual must not "abandon" the assisted person, e.g. leave the train to go and drive the next one, until such time as a handover as per (2) has been conducted. Nor may a driver depart from the station where the assisted passenger is to disembark until (2) has been conducted.
4. No situation must be allowed to arise where the assisted person is not in the care of a specific, named individual, between the point of presenting themselves for assistance and the point of leaving the train at the destination and the named individual having confirmed that all lifts etc to exit the station are in working order.

(3) must apply in all circumstances, even (arguably especially) an emergency evacuation.

This is a description of how the system would be in an ideal world with unlimited resources. In reality the current system delivers pretty well in the majority of cases. A couple of specific issues with 3 - drivers are not best equipped to be “responsible” in terms of personally presenting themselves to do a handover. Inevitably the question then becomes, what happens when the driver is the only member of staff on the train, and many stations are unstaffed?

Yes, it's onerous, but otherwise we fail vulnerable people.

Best get the level boarding sorted, hadn't they?

Are you willing to pay much higher fares or suffer higher taxation to pay for network wide level boarding? Even if you are, most aren’t.
 

43096

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Not a lot you can do if someone goes sick at the last minute...
If you've only got one person competent on the buggys on duty at a time at a station like King's Cross then again it's incompetence. There is no reason not to have plenty of staff trained up.
 

Bletchleyite

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Not a lot you can do if someone goes sick at the last minute...

Because providing the accessibility service is essential, you need to ensure that multiple staff are trained up in providing it, including the "backup" of people who would normally do other jobs e.g. ticket office staff.
 

Class320

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Because providing the accessibility service is essential, you need to ensure that multiple staff are trained up in providing it, including the "backup" of people who would normally do other jobs e.g. ticket office staff.

And if the ticket office staff are out driving around the station in a golf buggy who then sells the tickets? And would you expect them to do both their own job selling tickets AND drive the buggy around for just a ticket office staff wage or would you pay them more?
 

Bletchleyite

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This is a description of how the system would be in an ideal world with unlimited resources. In reality the current system delivers pretty well in the majority of cases. A couple of specific issues with 3 - drivers are not best equipped to be “responsible” in terms of personally presenting themselves to do a handover. Inevitably the question then becomes, what happens when the driver is the only member of staff on the train, and many stations are unstaffed?

"Pure" DOO (i.e. without OBS as per Thameslink or Chiltern) is certainly a potential issue in this regard, and it could certainly be argued that that form of DOO does not allow reasonable adjustments to be made for dealing with passengers requiring assistance. I would certainly say the combination of entirely unstaffed stations and DOO without a second member of staff at all is walking a very fine tightrope pending a legal case at some point that the railway would likely lose.

On a train with a guard or OBS the in-person handover could clearly happen, though.

And if the ticket office staff are out driving around the station in a golf buggy who then sells the tickets?

A major station like Kings Cross has more than one member of booking office staff.

But the obvious answer is "the TVM, and if your disability renders you unable to use one then you can board the train".
 

Class320

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"Pure" DOO (i.e. without OBS as per Thameslink) is certainly a potential issue in this regard, and it could certainly be argued that that form of DOO does not allow reasonable adjustments to be made for dealing with passengers requiring assistance. I would certainly say the combination of entirely unstaffed stations and DOO without a second member of staff at all is walking a very fine tightrope pending a legal case at some point that the railway would likely lose.



A major station like Kings Cross has more than one member of booking office staff.

But the obvious answer is "the TVM, and if your disability renders you unable to use one then you can board the train".

And do you pay the ticket office staff extra or are you expecting them to just drive the buggy for their ticket office staff rate? Working in a ticket office and driving the buggy are two jobs?
 

Bletchleyite

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And do you pay the ticket office staff extra or are you expecting them to just drive the buggy for their ticket office staff rate? Working in a ticket office and driving the buggy are two jobs?

Only on the railway would this kind of thing be an issue. In any other industry it'd be a welcome break as a change from regular duties to drive the buggy once in a while.

It's not like we're talking about asking them to clean the bogs. It's just asking a member of customer service staff to do a slightly different customer service role for a short period of time.

If the buggy driving role would be paid more, you could always pay the extra for the time spent buggy-driving.

It's clearly not two jobs, as you can't be doing both at once. At any one time you are either buggy driving or selling tickets. Though I did just have the amusing image in my head of someone driving a buggy while chucking out rolls of tickets on an old SPORTIS :)
 

Class320

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Only on the railway would this kind of thing be an issue. In any other industry it'd be a welcome break as a change from regular duties to drive the buggy once in a while.

It's not like we're talking about asking them to clean the bogs. It's just asking a member of customer service staff to do a slightly different customer service role for a short period of time.

If the buggy driving role would be paid more, you could always pay the extra for the time spent buggy-driving.

I'd hardly call them "slightly different"! One involves sat in an office taking money and issuing tickets whilst the other involves driving a vehicle around platforms full of people wandering around aimlessly whilst trying to assist people with mobility problems. Slightly different.......err ok!

I know for a fact in my work if I was aksed to do someone else's job as well as my own, I'd want extra pay. I wouldn't do two jobs for the pay of one.
 

LowLevel

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I think it is unreasonable to expect staff to memorise every possible combination of platform vs amount of coaches that fit.

Surely you write it down, have it accessible on a tablet or something simple like that?

It shouldn't be hard to click on a station and have each platform pop up with a list of how many vehicles can be accommodated, for most locations. It would at least allow you to work on the basis of the most restrictive possible platform you could use.
 

Bletchleyite

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I know for a fact in my work if I was aksed to do someone else's job as well as my own, I'd want extra pay. I wouldn't do two jobs for the pay of one.

But it's not asking you to do someone else's job as well as your own. It's asking you to do it temporarily instead of your own. You wouldn't be working any extra hours, and you'd only be doing one of the two jobs at any one time.

This lack of flexibility is ingrained in the railway, and as someone who has only ever worked in the private sector I really find it very difficult to understand how it can be justified to segment roles in this manner.

It's not totally unknown, though. At small single-manned stations like most of Merseyrail, the ticket office staff go out and grit the platforms if it's icey. It's just comparable to that. Normally the person whose job it is to drive the buggy does that, but if they're off sick it's just cover for an essential service.
 

221129

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Surely you write it down, have it accessible on a tablet or something simple like that?

It shouldn't be hard to click on a station and have each platform pop up with a list of how many vehicles can be accommodated, for most locations. It would at least allow you to work on the basis of the most restrictive possible platform you could use.
And it would take how long to deal with that during a 1 minute booked station stop?
 

Darandio

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"Sorry I cannot help you board this train and you will be left behind. I don't get paid for it."
 

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