'Northern worker' ignorant to specially adapted pushchair for disabled child

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by jcollins, 7 Dec 2018.

  1. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    https://www.itv.com/news/granada/20...r-fails-to-help-three-year-old-in-wheelchair/

    Sounds like some will need to benefit from the change to EU law regarding disability training for rail workers, discussed in another thread (unless we leave the EU with no deal and no transition period.)

    I can understand the worker not recognising it was a special pushchair for a disabled child but I don't get why he refused to get the ramp even after the situation was explained to him and then effectively mocked the parents by asking passengers whether they thought it was a buggy or a wheelchair.

    What makes this even worse is they wouldn't have ended up at Salford Crescent if Northern hadn't part cancelled a service.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2018
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  3. Gems

    Gems Member

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    Let me say this. As a Northern guard that story made me so angry. Anyone with half a brain could figure out it wasn't a pram and would be considerably heavier.

    I totally despair of some staff, I really do.
     
  4. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

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    Why not do the decent thing and get the ramp for a 'pram' anyway, regardless of whether it falls under this definition or that definition? If someone could usefully do with some help, just provide it!
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I would personally recommend them to pursue a legal case for discrimination, not just a customer services complaint. This kind of thing needs a very firm whack around the head for companies not taking it seriously enough, and you can be sure that given the nature of Arriva Northern's management that they will require said whack.
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Well, quite. If someone asks for help and you are in a position to provide it, why not provide it? Either Arriva policy (if he's been told not to) or that member of staff (if he's just being obstinate) is at fault in that regard too.
     
  7. Fearless

    Fearless Member

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    Well, thank goodness we also have staff members like you, Gems. Restore the balance.
     
  8. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I cannot believe it would be a policy. Staff are empowered to use their initiative and discretion, and in addition to that the negative publicity such a situation would create is another reason you would simply assist. Management aren't exactly going to be thrilled that this happened to save a few seconds.

    Any delay would go down as an assist, so what would be the problem anyway? Any delay minutes would be attributed to that.
     
  9. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

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    And any 'saving' would be lost in the arguing with the customer anyway!
     
  10. Gems

    Gems Member

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    Nice idea, but it isn't policy and Northern would kick off big time if the delays mounted due to loading prams. You could be getting the ramp out at every station almost. That said, there is nothing to stop the guard offering a hand, obviously on a four car set he might not be where the pram is being loaded, but if he is, just get hold of the front and lift it on.
     
  11. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    A guard on a service from Meadowhall yesterday refused a wheelchair as they were running around 16L. There was another train directly behind (running around 10L) that i was to board and the guard was happy to help, it took no time at all and everyone was happy but it might have meant a missed connection for the passenger who had already been embarrassed.

    Sadly, this behaviour happens, thankfully it’s VERY rare.
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Seriously?

    That would be an open-and-shut legal case of failure to make reasonable adjustments (i.e. get the ramp out).
     
  13. Gems

    Gems Member

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    So basically the guard on the first train was just lazy. That is the crux of the issue there and it had nothing to do with the train being 16 late.

    I'll repeat it again. As a Northern guard it is simply not acceptable. How on earth can we go on strike saying it is to keep disabled access and then deny them it. Everything is undermined by these idiots, and idiots they are.
     
  14. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    It’s certainly disappointing.

    I won’t mention which services they were but the first one would have connected into a London train (and would have been below the minimum connection time at Sheffield due to late running, but would have been cross platform) but the second service would have likely missed the connection. Of course I’m not suggesting they were going to London but I cannot say for sure they were not and neither could the guard.
     
  15. DanTrain

    DanTrain Member

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    Not only is it legally discriminatory, it’s also potentially very costly for Northern - if that passenger misses their connection, they then either have to put on the next train if possible or else they potentially need an expensive taxi ride, plus delay repay on top!
     
  16. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Doesn’t come out of the guards wages though so it’s no detriment to them. Especially if the train was already late enough to foul the minimum connection time.
    I’m not suggesting they did it out of laziness. Perhaps they genuinely thought that them getting on the following service was better for them.
     
  17. muz379

    muz379 Established Member

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    Some staff really do not help themselves , even if in doubt just offer the assistance .Rather that than waste all the time arguing then have a serious complaint made against you .

    Outrageous behaviour , sorry but when I arrive at a station and see a passenger in a wheelchair the last thing I think about is any delay that the service is either currently carrying or will incur as a result of providing the ramp . Its inconsequential

    If you are already carrying a passenger in a wheelchair and arrive at a station with another passenger in a wheelchair and have no other safe space for the additional passenger to travel in then that is another matter altogether . But to refuse on the grounds of delay is unacceptable .
     
  18. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Walking for the guards can be kept to a minimum now they are allowed to despatch from anywhere on the train so they can despatch from the middle after putting the ramp away.
     
  19. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    I can only hope that such litigation is forthcoming. The TOCs generally don't give a toss and deserve every kicking they can get.

    You have gone quite a way to restore my faith in rail staff with that simple unconditional post, thank you.

    And in the event that said first guard is disciplined RMT would appear hypocritical in the extreme if they attempt to support his actions.

    This needs a like button.

    Edited to add: Thanks for the mod edit. I struggle to do multiple responses on my phone.
     
    Last edited: 8 Dec 2018
  20. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Pretty much. I don't quite understand why any guard would refuse on the grounds of delay minutes. Overcrowding and resulting safety concerns I can understand, but not delays.

    I wonder how the conversation went with the customer exactly, especially whether instructions were given by the guard refusing boarding or whether it was more a request/suggestion.
     
  21. Bungle965

    Bungle965 Established Member

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    This reminds me of an incident at Manchester Piccadilly a few years ago now where a disabled passengers turned up a couple of minutes before departure and the guard refused to get the ramp out for him.
    It was the last train of the day as well.....
    That seemed to get a lot of news coverage.
    Sam
     
  22. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    It should also have led to disciplinary action against the guard
     
  23. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    Whilst I agree the behaviour of not allowing a wheelchair on due to late running is absolutely disgusting and inexcusable it is incorrect that it will cost Northern more money. The delay minutes further incurred by the wheelchair boarding would exceed the cost of a taxi and delay repay in almost all cases.
     
  24. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    So there’s Financial incentive for this behaviour. Thankfully we don’t see this as the reasoning, more likely to be laziness. Also unacceptable of course.
     
  25. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    To be honest I really struggle with explaining the behaviour of this guard beyond the fact he is lazy and ableist. I think this is certainly an 'individual' issue, say what you like about the management of Northern but they are certainly not instructing guards to leave wheelchairs behind to make up time.
     
  26. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Agreed. Though as a TOC they need to look at how things are perceived as much as how they really are.

    If you say something that sounds like sh*t on television it’s as bad as saying it.
     
  27. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    Two comments. Firstly it's not acceptable but...!

    One - a focus on chasing delay minutes can provoke what we called when I worked in a different job 'perverse employee behaviours'. Basically you lose sight of the service/role you're meant to be providing for fear of the stick of something negative, whether it's rational or not.

    If someone has recently been chased for delays they may attempt to avoid them no matter how illogical the reason for it (no one is ever going to be slated for losing time to assist a wheelchair user. It'll go no further than a quick call to control).

    It's a well researched theory in target driven call centres - agents terminating calls early intentionally to drive down handling times logged by automated systems.

    Two - notwithstanding the earlier 'but', it isn't acceptable either way.

    Was this the chap who had form for previously harassing the staff and demanding access to trains he knew full well they were barred from helping him to leave at his stop for safety reasons (IE Guide Bridge station where class 142s were barred from having the wheelchair ramps deployed) - he was asked to await the next 323 operated service for that reason but neglected to upload any mention of that. It all came out in the wash much later.
     
  28. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    Exactly, some call centre agents are on great money...as they hit all the targets, but usually give the worst customer service because they are hitting the targets! This why you often get a call back these days (or texts) asking what you thought of the service, as those answers now form part of the targets.
     
  29. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Numerous different reasons were given as why the passenger couldn't board. One was what you say, another was the ramp was broken and another was the wheelchair user's toddler son was sat on his lap and the guard refused to get out the ramp for that reason. I'm not sure if the media report said he was going to Guide Bridge so the point about catching the next 323 due to 142 issues at Guide Bridge might have a presumption from another guard.
     
  30. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    I was at Salford Crescent stood near the family with the disabled child in the push chair.

    When I arrived I could see there was some tension between the platform staff and the parents. I got the impression they had been unable to board a previous service and were very annoyed. The platform staff were trying to reassure them that they would be on the next service, it was a difficult situation as the platform was rammed with people and the usual peak time chaos was ensuing accross the Castlefield corridor... I couldn’t understand why they were requesting the ramp, the push chair was just a large pram and could easilly be lifted on. A passenger assisted one of the parents in lifting the pram with the child off the train at Wigan.

    It was a difficult situation and from the bit I witnessed I had some sympathy with the platform staff and train crew.
     
  31. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Report says they had to alight the previous service which should have headed for Wigan due to it being terminated short.
     

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