Wheelchair user Vs public transport

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by xc170, 14 Feb 2020.

  1. xc170

    xc170 Member

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    Not sure if this channel has been highlighted here before, but I've just watched a few videos and it's a bit of an eye opener, it certainly shows some of the struggle wheelchair users face while using public transport.

    I feel, certainly in videos such as "Scotrail Glasgow abbrasiveness" the gent in the wheelchair is, at times, intentionally difficult and awkward....

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpBGTlcCnAf1SJuzVtNghjg/videos
     
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  3. duncanp

    duncanp Member

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    I watched the Scotrail Glasgow abrasivness video, and I don't think the staff treated the wheelchair user with any disrespect.

    The wheelchair user was expecting a taxi to be waiting for him, and it wasn't there, for whatever reason. He needed to get to Glasgow Queen Street to get to Edinburgh, where he had a tight connection.

    The platform staff were unaware of the fact that the wheelchair user was expecting a taxi to be waiting for him, and were attempting to find out what had gone wrong.

    The wheelchair user was complaining that Andrew Marshall Roberts, the Head of Access and Inclusion at Scotrail, had personally arranged for a taxi to be waiting for him. I suspect that the task of actually organising the taxi was delegated to someone else, and for some reason the message didn't get through to the platform staff.

    Of course, it isn't the wheelchair user's fault that the taxi wasn't waiting for him, but I do feel that he spent a lot of time arguing about why the taxi wasn't there, rather than trying to find the quickest way of getting to Queen Street. From my knowledge of Glasgow Central, the taxi rank in outside the front of the station in Gordon Street, and there is always a line of taxis there. I don't know if Glasgow taxis have a wheelchair ramp, but if they do, then surely the best way of resolving the situation would be to take the wheelchair user to the front of the station and put him in the next available taxi. If the delay caused him to miss his connection in Edinburgh, then he should be compensated, or have his ticket endorsed to take the next available train.

    As to the other videos, I didn't watch any of them, but I don't doubt that they are true, and that wheelchair users face many difficulties when using public transport.

    I wonder though whether these videos are typical of disabled users experience of using public transport, and whether there are thousands of journeys that are completed every week without a problem, that don't end up on You Tube.

    For the record, I am disabled myself, although not in a wheelchair, and I can appreciate some of the difficulties that other disabled users face.
     
  4. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Here is the video:


    Description:
    The staff are fine at first but the duty manager behaves appallingly. (I have seen similar behaviour at other stations; the behaviour is poor but not untypical of the rail industry)


    Watch from 1:45. the Duty Manager appears at 2:30

    Some extracts of what the Duty Manager says:

    I, and others I know, have witnessed similar behaviour in the rail industry but not in any other industry.
     
    Last edited: 14 Feb 2020
  5. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    Goodness me! All the duty manager had to was:
    - apologise that the message hadn't got through
    - advise the passenger that a complaint would be raised, or provide contact details for doing so
    - accompany him to the taxi rank where he'd be able to get a cab, or use whatever method they would normally use to book taxis

    Was it a duty Scotrail manager, or station manager (Network Rail, I'd assume)? Either way, you'd think they'd have the authority to arrange a taxi to a nearby station. It would have been far quicker and easier than having an argument on the concourse and escalating the situation further.

    Taxis at a rank will be black-cab variants which should by now all have wheelchair access.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    If you said that to them, they'd probably say they've been doing the job for umpteen years, don't tell them how to do their job, they can't take your word for it, etc.

    If you pushed it, you'd be told you were harassing them, and if you continued to push it they'd threaten to call the police to report you harassing them, the police may well take their word for it (unless you have a recording).

    I've been made aware of similar disputes when passengers have onward tickets and disruption meant they missed the last train. Several forum members have been mistreated in this manner and have been accused of harassing staff simply for asking for what they are entitled to.

    The behaviour depicted in the video will continue to happen at stations across the network for the foreseeable future until the cultural problem is properly addressed.

    Yes it is a minority of staff but it's a sizeable and highly visible minority that cause massive problems; people who behave in such a manner do their colleagues a massive disservice and bring the entire industry into disrepute. If I worked at a station and had a colleague like that, I'd not be happy because they give the entire industry a poor reputation, which is largely undeserved, but until the rail industry changes the culture, it's going to keep happening.
     
  7. Typhoon

    Typhoon Member

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    I thought the member of staff who took him to the taxi was good - "I'd give you a hug myself but that's a bit unprofessional" was just the right touch of humour.

    As ever in these situations the actions of one taint those of others who are doing their job. "I've not been told" - if you are incapable of acting without being told what to do, why did you apply for a managerial position? I've seen more initiative shown by the people who clear trains of litter!
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    And the procedural problem. We need to move to a system of in-person handover for assistance. That is, that at any given time one, specific, named person is responsible for ensuring that a given part of the journey is handled correctly, and that when that person changes (e.g. platform staff to guard) all three people, the person handing over, the receipt of the handover and the person being assisted, are all together for that handover. And furthermore that, other than the guard on the train where that is not practical (or the OBS/driver as appropriate)[1], the person responsible is within sight/earshot of the person being assisted, and if they won't be they are handed over to someone else, again in person. And if the person being handed over to is not there, it is the responsibility of the current "holder of the baton" to make the appropriate phone calls etc to ensure they are, not just to lock up their cab and walk off.

    It gets forgotten too much, and so a much stricter system of "baton passing" would really help to avoid that.

    It would further help if "assistance itineraries" were produced, which could be printed or shown on a phone, explaining what is to happen at what stage, and what role of person is responsible at that stage.

    [1] The in-person handover where they have introduced themselves to the person requiring assistance and explained how they will fulfil that and when, and how to contact them in an emergency (i.e. the passcom) will make them far less likely to forget than "oi, mate, I've put a wheelchair on for you".
     
  9. jumble

    jumble Member

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    The Duty Manager could have made a phone call to Scotrails inclusion department and seek advice to resolve this ( or at least deescalate the situation) and I agree with other posters that his behaviour is disgraceful and so do his bosses by the tone of the apology letter and if they are true to their word he will not be repeating this.

    The chap in the wheelchair could be said to have a bit of an issue with how he talks to people
    His opening line is "You're supposed to know" could possibly be usefully replaced by "Would you mind finding out if"


    If someone says "you're supposed to know" or similar I usually turn around and look back.
    When they ask what I am doing I say I am looking for the 10 year old child you are obviously talking to
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Wheelchair users are treated so badly by an unfit-for-purpose assistance system that I don't blame them for being angry, to be honest. It's not like he swore (anyway, for some reason swearing in Scottish sounds less offensive, so even if he did :) ).

    The railway really needs to sort this out, it is unacceptable.
     
  11. jumble

    jumble Member

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    I agree entirely and I don't blame them either
    I cannot really begin to imagine what it is like to be in their shoes
    My only point is that if you are trying to get people to help you human nature dictates that honey generally works better than vinegar
     
  12. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, that is true. But one thing that needs to taken into account is that most people don't behave calmly and politely when something is going badly wrong - it's just not human - animal - nature.
     
  13. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes, that person was excellent
    Exactly. Of all the staff there, only one was actually a problem, but the interactions of that person won't be forgotten.

    In most jobs/roles, you'd not last long at all behaving like that!
     
  14. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    I agree. Both parties could have handled it better; the difference is that one party was in the right, did nothing wrong and just could have been a bit more polite (but there are many potentialy valid reasons why they weren't), while the other party was completely in the wrong and was acting in a manner that I would say should be deemed gross misconduct, as well as making false allegations.

    If a customer is perceived as a little bit 'off' with you at work, the best way forward is to be totally polite and to try to diffuse any potential problem. I have a lot of experience with this and I know it can be done. The rail industry has a big problem in this area.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's probably easier at the end of a phone line, but my Mum used to work in a bank call centre before she retired, and they used to take great pleasure in being excruciatingly polite (but following the rules and procedures to the precise letter) if someone got rude or sweary.
     
  16. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

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    I am a fairly grumpy person but when dealing with the really grumpy types at work I would always be really cheerful. It’s the best way of annoying them without doing anything wrong!

    If you are super polite the customer can complain that you were taking the mick but the transcript will be on your side. Being arsey always looks bad later as the context diminishes.
     
  17. xc170

    xc170 Member

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    This is what I was getting at, yes, the duty manager could have been a little more helpful but the attitude of the guy in the wheelchair was unacceptable, it's as if he was looking for an argument...
     
  18. C J Snarzell

    C J Snarzell Member

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    Wasn't there an incident at Crewe last year involving a disabled passenger & a Virgin Train Manager?

    The female passenger was trying to board the service to Chester and there were some issues in accommodating her. It ended up in a incident with the train being delayed and a bit of a scene between the passenger and the Virgin staff.

    I believe the Train Manager lost there job and there was an angry outcry from her colleagues about the dismissal resulting in strikes on the West Coast Line.

    CJ
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, correct, I'm sure I recall reading in the end that the guard concerned was sacked and was not reinstated. The thread is probably still there if you search for it.

    The wheelchair user concerned is somewhat of a campaigner, but this doesn't allow[1] the guard to refuse carriage just because she doesn't like her (she videoed the whole encounter and while she was agitated and upset she was very clearly not abusive nor threatening).

    [1] It sort of does as the guard can refuse travel as they are in charge of the train, but if in doing so the guard is in breach of company policy, as she was, then disciplinary action can be taken afterwards, as it was in this case resulting in her dismissal.
     
  20. LowLevel

    LowLevel Established Member

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    The channel owner is a member here so he may wish to comment or may not (he's disclosed his own identity on here before). He relates positive experience as well as negative and I have no issues with his channel.

    I've watched lots of his footage myself to pick up ways of improving my method of working.
     

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