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“Please help me persuade First Great Western Railway to enable people with limited mobility to use Twyford station.” – Sarah Barnard

Description

Sarah Barnard

Apparently Twyford station is unstaffed after 3.30pm on a Sunday, so we can't get off there as there is no one to opperate the ramp (which is chained to the wall so hooligans cant make off with it) and the newly installed very expensive lifts are locked so, even if you could get off the train, you cant get off the platform unless you can use the stairs.
Dont worry - you can stay on the train to Reading, where a man with a ramp will help you ffo the train and take you to a taxi, which will return you to Twyford station.
You wait 20 minutes and the taxi which arrives is a saloon car .... and you're in a power wheelchair ..... and after a further 25 minute wait you're told that the closest wheelchair accessible taxi is 20 miles away ... so you have to get back on a train to Twyford with a man and a ramp, so you can get off at the only accessible platform.
Journey time from London - 2 hours 17 minutes.
Trips in lifts at Reading station - six.
Time in the freezing cold outside Reading station waiting in vain for the taxi they had DEFINITELY booked (yeah right) - 45 minutes.
Humiliation for wheelchair user - I'd say pretty close to 100%
All this because the things which supposedly make Twyford station accessible are locked up.

Problem History

  • 1 Sarah Barnard reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 16:57 29 Jan 2013
  • 2 Sarah Barnard wrote to First Great Western Railway close 16:57 29 Jan 2013

    Here is the letter that Sarah Barnard wrote.

    Wheelchair Access to Twyford Station

    Apparently Twyford station is unstaffed after 3.30pm on a Sunday, so we can't get off there as there is no one to opperate the ramp (which is chained to the wall so hooligans cant make off with it) and the newly installed very expensive lifts are locked so, even if you could get off the train, you cant get off the platform unless you can use the stairs.
    Dont worry - you can stay on the train to Reading, where a man with a ramp will help you ffo the train and take you to a taxi, which will return you to Twyford station.
    You wait 20 minutes and the taxi which arrives is a saloon car .... and you're in a power wheelchair ..... and after a further 25 minute wait you're told that the closest wheelchair accessible taxi is 20 miles away ... so you have to get back on a train to Twyford with a man and a ramp, so you can get off at the only accessible platform.
    Journey time from London - 2 hours 17 minutes.
    Trips in lifts at Reading station - six.
    Time in the freezing cold outside Reading station waiting in vain for the taxi they had DEFINITELY booked (yeah right) - 45 minutes.
    Humiliation for wheelchair user - I'd say pretty close to 100%
    All this because the things which supposedly make Twyford station accessible are locked up.

  • 3 First Group Response responded to Sarah Barnard close 17:03 29 Jan 2013
    Thank you for contacting First Great Western. We confirm receipt of your e-mail and aim to forward a full response within 5 working days. If you have a more urgent issue that needs resolving or your enquiry relates to travel during the current weather conditions, please refer to our website for the most up to date information. http://www.journeycheck.com/firstgreatwe.... Alternatively you can call customer services on 08457 000125 where we will try to give a faster resolution or contact us via Twitter using @FGW.

    Please be aware that due to the recent disruption caused by severe weather we have received high volumes of correspondence and therefore our response may take longer than 5 days.

    Please note that you will not be able to reply direct to this email, however if you wish to contact us further by email then please use the address below.

    [email address]
  • 4 FGW Customer Relations responded to Sarah Barnard close 14:55 21 Feb 2013
    First Great Western
    Customer Services Team
    FREEPOST
    SWB40576
    Plymouth
    PL4 6ZZ

    Tel: 08457 000 125
    Fax: 08456 008 363
    [First Great Western Railway problem reporting email]

    www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk

    Ref: FGW 6933583

    Dear Sarah Barnard

    Thank you for your recent correspondence forwarded to us by Fixmytransport. I apologise for the delay in my reply.

    I was sorry to read that you and your disabled son had such an unfortunate experience when you travelled with us recently from London Paddington to Twyford. I appreciate that it must have been frustrating for you to learn that we would be unable to help you and your son off the train at Twyford in his wheelchair and that the lifts would be unavailable.

    When the station is unstaffed, the lifts are locked for safety reasons as in the event of a failure, a customer might become be stranded with no one on hand to offer any help.

    We encourage customers who may particular needs to book their journeys through our Assisted Travel Team to ensure that we have assistance in place at all points along their journey, both at stations and on the train to ensure that they have a comfortable and pleasant journey experience travelling with us. That way, if there are any particular difficulties, such as there being no access to lifts for example, we will ensure that we make arrangements to alight at another accessible station and will arrange suitable ongoing transport at no extra cost.

    The team can be contacted using our dedicated Freephone telephone number, 0800 197 1329, they would be happy to help.

    All of our trains carry ramps although some services on this route are Driver Only Operated (DOO). The Help Points at our stations provide a telephone link to our colleagues at the National Rail Enquiry Service (NRES) and they would be happy to contact our Controllers directly if you experience any problems at one of our stations.

    I note from our records that you have not contacted us directly regarding this matter. Our contact details are at the head of this email should you feel you would like to contact us at any point in the future.

    Clearly you are feeling let down and I am sorry. I would like to be able to offer you a gesture of goodwill as a means of showing that we are sorry. With this in mind, I would be grateful if you would contact me at the above address so that I can arrange this for you. If you would prefer, you can email me directly at [email address].

    Thank you for your correspondence. I am grateful for the opportunity to reply and look forward to hearing from you again soon.

    Yours sincerely

    Mark Webber
    Customer Relations Senior Officer

    First Great Western Limited. Registered in England & Wales No. 05113733.
    Registered office: Milford House, 1 Milford Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1HL.

    First Rail Holdings Limited. Registered in England No. 5154485. Registered office: 50 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London W2 6LG.

    This message is confidential. It may not be disclosed to, or used by, anyone other than the addressee. If you receive this message in error, please advise us immediately.

    Internet email is not necessarily secure. First does not accept responsibility for changes to any email which occur after the email has been sent. Attachments to this email could contain software viruses which could damage your system. First have checked the attachments for viruses before sending, but you should virus-check them before opening.

    For more information on our range of services or to book your tickets online, please visit:- http://www.firstgroup.com
  • 5 Sarah Barnard commented close 14:05 27 Feb 2013

    Dear Mr Webber,

    Thank you for your response via FixMyTransport only three weeks after my initial complaint.

    I cannot accept that an unmanned lift could represent a significant risk as remote monitoring of elevators is well established and used in a wide variety of settings.

    Please see below my letter to Mark Hopwood on this matter, I have also raised this issue with Theresa May MP and Lindsey Ferris local councillor for Twyford.

    Regards,

    Sarah Barnard

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mark Hopwood
    Head Office
    Milford House
    1 Milford Street
    Swindon
    SN1 1HL

    Dear Mr Hopwood,

    I am writing to complain about the lack of provision for disabled access at Twyford station.

    In 2009 an upgraded footbridge with lifts and level access to all platforms was opened with much publicity and fanfare about how marvelous this investment was in providing “easier travel opportunities for potential customers with disabilities who may wish to travel to or from Twyford in the future” according to Mark Heffernan of FGW. Well it has certainly improved matters at some times, but for those wishing to travel during the evening or at weekends, the situation is impossible as the lifts are only unlocked when the station is manned. I believe that the current system is breaching the Equality Act 2010 (as a disability is a protected characteristic under this), in the following ways:

    Section 19 – Indirect Discrimination – FGW are applying the same provision to everyone by only allowing the lift to be used in hours when the station is manned but that provision puts those who are disabled and unable to use the stairs at a disadvantage.

    Section 20 – Duty to make Reasonable Adjustments – as the provision of only allowing the lift to be used at certain hours puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who are not disabled. The current “work around” of sending disabled passengers on to Reading station for transfer to a taxi to return to Twyford is failing as the disruptive alteration to the journey of the disabled person is unreasonable and from my personal experience suitable taxi’s cannot be provided.

    Section 29 – Service Providers – A person must not be discriminated against by a person who provides a service to the public or part of the public as to the terms on which the service is provided. For reasons as above, the terms of the use of the lift discriminates against people who are disabled and cannot use the stairs during the hours when the lift cannot be used.

    The solution to this problem would be for the very expensive lifts, opened with such fanfare in 2009, to be available for use by those needing them at all times when trains are stopping at the station. A remote elevator monitoring system would ensure that any problems with lift operation could be safely attended to and CCTV would provide a deterrent to misuse or deliberate damage as throughout the rest of the station.

    I would appreciate your urgent attention to this matter.

    Yours sincerely,

    Sarah Barnard

  • 6 Paul Pacey commented close 12:12 28 Feb 2013

    Well done and good luck.

  • 7 Lynne Gillett commented close 10:41 14 Mar 2013

    Have to say (rather embarassingly) that they have actually been great at providing cabs from Reading to Shiplake for me instead when I need to come back on from London on Sundays after 3pm.
    HOWEVER I totally totally agree re the lift hours - absolutely ridiculous. They don't publish the lift hours under the accessibility details on the National Rail website, and also seem to assume that no-one with a disability needing the lift wants to go out after 5pm on a Saturday or 7pm on a week night!!! Same goes for those with suitcases and buggies I guess...anyway, if there's anything I can do to support the campaign to change teh lift times etc please do let me know and well done for shouting about it!!!
    Lynne Gillett, Shiplake (travel frequently to London and back for work whilst caring for housebound mum in Shiplake)

  • 8 Sarah Barnard commented close 10:24 19 Mar 2013

    I have had no further response from FGW but I am chasing them.

  • 9 Sarah Barnard commented close 13:59 16 Apr 2013

    I have been invited to meet with the FGW Mobility and Inclusion Manager. I will post the outcome here.

  • 10 Lynne Gillett commented close 14:21 16 Apr 2013

    Well done Sarah, hope it goes well x

  • 11 Sarah Barnard commented close 09:26 03 May 2013

    I met with Neil Craig, Mobility and Inclusion Manager for FGW at Twyford Station yesterday. I have made a number of suggestions about how the problem of access to the lifts when the station is unmanned could be resolved. He has asked me to find examples of people who have either been caught out by the lifts, used the taxi from reading and had bad experiences or just don't use the station at times when the lift arent available, that would help him justify changes. If anyone would like to share their experiences I would be very grateful. If you would prefer to email me directly that would be fine.

  • 12 Lynne Gillett commented close 11:22 03 May 2013

    I will definitely write something up this weekend for you as that has absolutely been the case for me. Thank you so much for getting this tackled! Lynne

  • 13 Lynne Gillett commented close 11:23 03 May 2013

    Could I also suggest an article in the Henley Standard for next week and requests for support on the line's village's noticeboards?

  • 14 Dean Yorke commented close 20:09 23 May 2013

    I am a wheelchair user and have had the same problems with the lifts at Twyford station. I was delighted when lifts were installed at Twyford station so that I was able to use the far platforms, but the majority of times I want to travel the lifts are switched off. On one evening just before Christmas 2011 I went to Reading from Twyford and used the lifts and boarded the train using the ramp. I told the station attendant that I would be returning after midnight and he told me there would not be anyone there with the ramp at that time (that was fine as my sisters were with me and they are able to get me off the train without the ramp). I also assumed I would not need the lifts at that time as the train from Reading always stops at the platform by the exit. However on returning this night the train stopped at the middle platform at the lifts were turned off. Luckily there was another group of people getting off the train who carried me and the wheelchair over the footbridge. First Great Western have provided a taxi for me for journeys since then, but this is not always convenient as I have to phone up well in advance and it takes over twice as long to get to Reading by car. It would make things a lot easier if the lifts were on all the time.

  • 15 D Henderson commented close 17:03 25 Oct 2013

    Twyford station is managed from Maidenhead which has a member of staff on duty 24 hours a day.

    My solution:

    When Maidenhead station is partially rebuilt (coming very soon due to Crossrail) the control for the station (currently the platform four office) could contain CCTV displays for Twyford (and other often unmanned stations that Maidenhead manage such as the Marlow and Henley branches) and also the in lift help point could connect out-of-hours to the Maidenhead office phone. This could ensure help is actioned and provided verbally over the phone.

    This would be a more efficient use of resources than providing late night staff at Twyford.

    What do you say First Great Western?.

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  • started 29 January 2013
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Twyford Rail Station in Twyford operated by First Great Western Railway
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