“Please help me persuade East Midlands Trains to improve disability access at Sheffield Station” – Claire Jones

Description

Claire Jones

I have blogged about my very poor experience of Sheffield station, 4 seperate incidents of access failure within one day.

Please see http://otonwheels.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/sheffield-access-fail-by-northernrailorg/

Access fail 1

I got to Sheffield and unfortunately despite checking with both the guy on the platform at Leeds and with the conductor on the train, there was no-one there to provide the ramp that I need to disembark the train.

Access fail 2

I went into the station, and went to the platform the train was leaving from. Knowing how often this is the critical time to make sure arrangements are properly made I looked out for station staff and train staff. Sure enough, several staff were floating around, so I made sure that I politely informed each of the that I was expecting to travel on the next rain to Leeds, that I would need the ramp, and that here I am, sitting next to the ramp ready for someone to attach it to the train so I can alight.

The train arrives, and I nervously drove the scooter in between the ramp and the train, all the time telling all the staff I could see that I needed someone to attch the ramp. Everyone was sure that “someone” would be along to do it. I felt that the time was approaching for the train to leave, and was on my phone. I could see the conductor and train staff get onto the train and close all the doors. Then, the train pulled away.

Sure enough, “someone” had failed to materialise and I had missed my train.

Access fail 3

Upon attemptingto board the Northern Rail train, the conductor stated that they wouldnt carry me and my electric scooter unless I could carry it onto the train myself. The supervisor helpfully printed off a policy document from Northern Rail stating that they did not agree to transport scooters, unless the mobility impaired person carried them onto the train themselves. So the conductor had been correct in interpreting company policy, it was actually an official policy to directly discriminate against people with disabilities and mobility isues.

Access fail 4

The train to Leeds arrived. The platform supervisor had the ramp set up into Standard. I asked him if he would mind moving the ramp as I had a First Class ticket and wanted therefore to travel in First Class.

So we went down the train. the platform supervisor joined me, swearing and muttering all the way down the train in a most unfriendly manner. He obviously didn’t see the reason why I should not want to accept his kind offer of help into Standard and insist on travelling in First.

We got the ramp up, and I drove on to the train. Suprise, suprise, there wasnt anyone in the disabled spot. There was a whole family’s luggage in the disabled spot. The family memebrs startted to remove the luggage with guilty faces, avoiding eye contact with me, and placed it all in the luggage spot.

Problem History

  • 1 Claire Jones reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 16:05 26 Jun 2012
  • 2 Claire Jones wrote to East Midlands Trains close 16:05 26 Jun 2012

    Here is the letter that Claire Jones wrote.

    Disability Access

    I have blogged about my very poor experience of Sheffield station, 4 seperate incidents of access failure within one day.

    Please see http://otonwheels.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/sheffield-access-fail-by-northernrailorg/

    Access fail 1

    I got to Sheffield and unfortunately despite checking with both the guy on the platform at Leeds and with the conductor on the train, there was no-one there to provide the ramp that I need to disembark the train.

    Access fail 2

    I went into the station, and went to the platform the train was leaving from. Knowing how often this is the critical time to make sure arrangements are properly made I looked out for station staff and train staff. Sure enough, several staff were floating around, so I made sure that I politely informed each of the that I was expecting to travel on the next rain to Leeds, that I would need the ramp, and that here I am, sitting next to the ramp ready for someone to attach it to the train so I can alight.

    The train arrives, and I nervously drove the scooter in between the ramp and the train, all the time telling all the staff I could see that I needed someone to attch the ramp. Everyone was sure that “someone” would be along to do it. I felt that the time was approaching for the train to leave, and was on my phone. I could see the conductor and train staff get onto the train and close all the doors. Then, the train pulled away.

    Sure enough, “someone” had failed to materialise and I had missed my train.

    Access fail 3

    Upon attemptingto board the Northern Rail train, the conductor stated that they wouldnt carry me and my electric scooter unless I could carry it onto the train myself. The supervisor helpfully printed off a policy document from Northern Rail stating that they did not agree to transport scooters, unless the mobility impaired person carried them onto the train themselves. So the conductor had been correct in interpreting company policy, it was actually an official policy to directly discriminate against people with disabilities and mobility isues.

    Access fail 4

    The train to Leeds arrived. The platform supervisor had the ramp set up into Standard. I asked him if he would mind moving the ramp as I had a First Class ticket and wanted therefore to travel in First Class.

    So we went down the train. the platform supervisor joined me, swearing and muttering all the way down the train in a most unfriendly manner. He obviously didn’t see the reason why I should not want to accept his kind offer of help into Standard and insist on travelling in First.

    We got the ramp up, and I drove on to the train. Suprise, suprise, there wasnt anyone in the disabled spot. There was a whole family’s luggage in the disabled spot. The family memebrs startted to remove the luggage with guilty faces, avoiding eye contact with me, and placed it all in the luggage spot.

  • 3 East Midlands Trains Feedback responded to Claire Jones close 16:11 26 Jun 2012
    Thank you for your feedback. This has been forwarded to the Customer
    Relations team at East Midlands Trains. If you have requested a reply, we
    hope to get back to you within the next 10 working days. You'll definitely
    receive a response within 20 working days though, as per our Passenger's
    Charter.

    This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the East Midlands Trains IT Department on 44 (0) 161 219 4331.

    Company Name: East Midlands Trains Limited
    Registered Address: Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NZ
    Registered Number: 5340682

    This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by MessageLabs for the presence of computer viruses.
  • 4 Myf Nixon advised Claire to write to Northern Rail. close 16:17 26 Jun 2012

    Hello Claire,

    FixMyTransport Admin here. Your report has been sent to EMT as they manage Sheffield Station. I can see that it partly concerns Northern Rail, though, so you may also want to bring them in. This is their email address, if you'd like to copy the pertinent part of your message.

    Good luck - it certainly sounds like an issue well worth getting a response to.

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 5 Claire Jones wrote to Northern Rail following Myf Nixon's advice. close 16:45 26 Jun 2012

    I have recently blogged about a series of unexpectedly terrible experiences attempting to use your trains. Please see http://otonwheels.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/sheffield-access-fail-by-northernrailorg/

    I have seen a print out of your company policy about not transporting mobility scooters unless a mobility impaired person is able to carry the constituent parts on to a train and place in a luggage rack. I believe this to be in contravention of the Equality Act 2005, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and very poor customer relations and business modelling to boot.

    I expect a response

  • 6 Claire Jones added an update close 16:45 26 Jun 2012

    Have emailed Northern Rail to emphasise my belief that their carriage policy for people using scooters is not legal under the Equality Act 2005

  • 7 Customer Relations responded to Claire Jones close 16:46 26 Jun 2012
    Dear Customer

    Customer Relations

    Case Reference: NR/262543

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Northern, the train
    company serving communities across the north of England.

    We aim to respond within 20 working days.

    In the meantime we can confirm receipt of your feedback/enquiry.

    Kind regards

    Customer Relations Officer

    show quoted sections
  • 8 Mark Jones commented close 18:31 26 Jun 2012

    Hi Claire, Do let me know if you want any advice from myself on this matter, as I can dig up policies and such. It sounds like there has been a communications breakdown, just as a point of information: East Midlands do have a JourneyCare number that you should ring if you wish to book assistance:

    "We do ask for at least two working days notice to arrange assistance for your journey. As wheelchair space on the trains is limited, we advise that assistance is booked as far in advance as possible. If you want to travel sooner, or would like to discuss something in more detail, please contact the Assisted Travel team on 08457 125 678 option 3 (0800 - 2200) who will be happy to help"
    (Source: www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk)

    While I appreciate sometimes journeys can be at short notice, I advise anyone to book assistance beforehand, and ensure you have the reference number with you to show the station staff (at the Customer Services Desk in Sheffield Station) or on board staff on the train.

    Did you show your First Class ticket to the Platform Staff in Situation 3? That may be why the member of staff involved was not aware you wanted to be in that portion of the train. While it is a misunderstanding, communication is important from both yourself and the staff involved.

    Let's hope you get some answers!

    anorak
    admin
  • 9 [email address] responded to Claire Jones close 11:40 01 Jul 2012
    [Improve disability access at Sheffield Station email]
    Northern Rail 262543

    01 July 2012

    Our Reference NR/ 262543

    Dear [Improve disability access at Sheffield Station email]

    Thank you for your e-mail, which I received recently.

    Thank you for your recent email. Please rest assured that your feedback has now been passed on to the relevant teams in Northern. Should you wish to know more please contact us directly at [email address].

    Yours sincerely

    Jane McDaid
    Customer Relations Officer
    FREEPOST RLSL-ABEC-BGUU
    Northern Customer Relations
    First Floor, The Travel Centre
    City Railway Station
    Leeds
    LS1 4DY

    Tel 0845 00 00 125
    Fax 0113 2479 059

    http://www.northernrail.org

    show quoted sections
  • 10 Get in Touch responded to Claire Jones close 14:47 18 Jul 2012
    Ref: 327460

    Dear Customer

    Thank you for your email of 26th June 2012. I am sorry for the problems you
    experienced on your recent journey.

    So I can investigate your complaint fully could you please email me with
    your passenger assistance reference number.

    Once again, thank you for contacting East Midlands Trains.

    Kind regards

    Tracy Gillgower
    Customer Relations Officer

    Tel: 08457 125 678 (Option 5, then 3)
    Fax: 0845 6010988
    Email: [East Midlands Trains problem reporting email]

    To help us improve our service, please rate our response at -

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EastMidla...

    This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the East Midlands Trains IT Department on 44 (0) 161 219 4331.

    Company Name: East Midlands Trains Limited
    Registered Address: Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NZ
    Registered Number: 5340682

    This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by MessageLabs for the presence of computer viruses.
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  • started 26 June 2012
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Sheffield Rail Station in Sheffield Centre operated by East Midlands Trains
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