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“Please help me persuade Virgin Trains to improve the communication between stations and assistance booking.” – Ipek Huseyin

Description

Ipek Huseyin

On a couple of occasions I have booked assistance with luggage and getting on and off the train. On both instances I have been let down severely. The first occasion was where I was travelling from London Euston to Coventry on two crutches, there was no ramp and no luggage assistance on arrival at Coventry. I had booked the help a week in advance at least. I could not climb down the steps and was waiting in the doorway of the train hoping that someone would see me. As there was nobody there to help me off and no assistance was present, everyone involved assumed that the train was ready to depart for Birmingham. The doors closed on me 3-4 times without anybody checking to see what the problem was. This made my condition extremely bad, I was barely able to stand straight, let alone walk. Passengers on the platform informed the signaller that I needed a ramp, this was then provided, I was not helped with my luggage and had to struggle in agony to the lift where I ran into the manager/inspectors. They then called for a wheelchair pushed me out of the station and I was then helped into a taxi home. I suffered in agony for a week after that this definitely contributed to making bad enough to now need to use a wheelchair. I was assured by the two inspector/managers that it would be looked into and that it should not have happened. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The second incident was again from Euston to Coventry where I travelled in my wheelchair. If the cleaner on the train hadn't seen me struggling to get off the train and would not have told the platform assistant that I was trying to get off, I would have ended up in Birmingham! Again, I had booked the ramp and assistance with luggage a week in advance at least, there was no ramp and no assistance. When the cleaner informed the platform steward that there was a wheelchair user who needed to get off, he asked "do I need a ramp?" The ramp was then provided and assistance with my luggage was provided. To add insult to injury, I had told the steward at Euston to inform Coventry to be ready. I received no formal apology for what I went through and nothing has been done since.

Problem History

  • 1 Ipek Huseyin reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 17:56 08 Sep 2011
  • 2 Ipek Huseyin wrote to Virgin Trains close 17:56 08 Sep 2011

    Here is the letter that Ipek Huseyin wrote.

    Poor organisation for disabled travellers

    On a couple of occasions I have booked assistance with luggage and getting on and off the train. On both instances I have been let down severely. The first occasion was where I was travelling from London Euston to Coventry on two crutches, there was no ramp and no luggage assistance on arrival at Coventry. I had booked the help a week in advance at least. I could not climb down the steps and was waiting in the doorway of the train hoping that someone would see me. As there was nobody there to help me off and no assistance was present, everyone involved assumed that the train was ready to depart for Birmingham. The doors closed on me 3-4 times without anybody checking to see what the problem was. This made my condition extremely bad, I was barely able to stand straight, let alone walk. Passengers on the platform informed the signaller that I needed a ramp, this was then provided, I was not helped with my luggage and had to struggle in agony to the lift where I ran into the manager/inspectors. They then called for a wheelchair pushed me out of the station and I was then helped into a taxi home. I suffered in agony for a week after that this definitely contributed to making bad enough to now need to use a wheelchair. I was assured by the two inspector/managers that it would be looked into and that it should not have happened. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The second incident was again from Euston to Coventry where I travelled in my wheelchair. If the cleaner on the train hadn't seen me struggling to get off the train and would not have told the platform assistant that I was trying to get off, I would have ended up in Birmingham! Again, I had booked the ramp and assistance with luggage a week in advance at least, there was no ramp and no assistance. When the cleaner informed the platform steward that there was a wheelchair user who needed to get off, he asked "do I need a ramp?" The ramp was then provided and assistance with my luggage was provided. To add insult to injury, I had told the steward at Euston to inform Coventry to be ready. I received no formal apology for what I went through and nothing has been done since.

  • 3 Relations, Customer responded to Ipek Huseyin close 18:00 08 Sep 2011
    Thank you for contacting us.

    This is an automated email acknowledgement confirming receipt of
    your email.

    We will respond again shortly.

    Regards,

    Customer Relations
    Virgin Trains.

    show quoted sections

    ________________________________  
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    Although this email and any attachments are believed to be free
    of any virus, or any other defect which might affect any
    computer or IT system into which they are received and opened,
    it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that they
    are virus free and no responsibility is accepted by Virgin
    Trains for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt or
    use thereof.

    Any opinions expressed in this email message are those of the
    sender and do not represent those of Virgin Trains or affiliated
    Companies in any way and reliance should not be placed upon its
    contents. Unless otherwise stated this email message is not
    intended to be contractually binding. Where an Agreement exists
    between our respective companies and there is conflict between
    the contents of this email message and the Agreement then the
    terms of that Agreement shall prevail

    Thank you

    [email address]

    Virgin Trains is the trading name for West Coast Trains Limited
    (a subsidiary of Virgin Rail Group Ltd), a company registered in
    England and
    Wales (number 3007940) whose registered office is at The School
    House, 50 Brook Green. London. W6 7RR
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  • 4 Virgin Trains responded to Ipek Huseyin close 10:39 09 Sep 2011
     

    Dear Sir / Madam,

    Thank you for your email which we received on 8 September 2011.
    Your comments have been entered into our case management system
    under reference 4-2063578 and we will respond to you as soon as
    possible,

    If it is an urgent matter, however, you may wish to give us a
    call on 0845 000 8000 quoting the above reference. In the
    meantime, we will do our utmost to arrange a swift response.

    Regards

    Virgin Trains Customer Relations Team

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  • 5 Myf Nixon commented close 17:06 09 Sep 2011

    This sounds dreadful. I hope you can get things changed, Ipek.

    anorak
    admin
  • 6 Ipek Huseyin commented close 20:44 09 Sep 2011

    Thank you, I hope I can too.

  • 7 Dave H commented close 21:18 09 Sep 2011

    Discussing this with another TOC access officer and they said that you would be justified in pulling the tail (the red handle) or hitting the passenger assistance button (which on Pendolinos has the same effect - it does not automatically apply the brakes - but pulling the door release lever (green) does apply the brakes).

    I find I pull the tail about once every couple of years. Last time an addict was having a fit on the floor as we left EUS - put him in recovery position and went to grab the manager but not in Coach C so grabbed the nearest handle, and driver comes on intercom. He called for paramedics at first convenient stopping point.

    It strikes me that this is a useful application for twitter/SMS and Virgin appear to have twitter accounts for their main stations. So you might send a message @Virgin_Coventry #assistance Coach B XX.10 ex-EUS. (Quote departure time of train rather than expected arrival as the arrival times can be altered by delays - serious nerds quote train reporting number eg 1M15).

  • 8 Ipek Huseyin commented close 00:08 10 Sep 2011

    Hi Dave, I only found out about the alarm on the second journey I mentioned. It was positioned by the wheelchair space in coach J I think. On both occasions I have been stood in the doorway and there is no way I can trigger the alarm and then wheel myself back with my suitcase before the train leaves. In any case the warning of a fine completely put me off using it unless it is a life or death situation.

    Thanks for the added information, I will bear it in mind for when I travel next, no doubt I will be needing it:-S

  • 9 Virgin Trains responded to Ipek Huseyin close 11:32 22 Sep 2011
     

    Dear Sir Madam,

    Thank you very much for your E-mail of 8^th September 2011.

    It was naturally very concerning to learn of your clients poor
    journeys recently and their difficulties at Coventry station.

    Clearly this is an important issue and one that we are keen to
    investigate further.

    Unfortunately, we are currently unable to do this as we do not
    have the customers contact details, travel itinerary or booking
    references. I would therefore be grateful if you could notify us
    of these, quoting this reference number so that we can fully
    complete the processing of their claim.

    Yours sincerely

    Ben Evers

    Customer Relations

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  • 10 Myf Nixon commented close 14:25 26 Sep 2011

    Hi Ipek,
    if you'd like to provide the details Virgin have asked for, you can do so by clicking the 'email' button beside their name at the top of this page. However, we'd advise against publishing your contact details on this website.

    You could include this sentence: "I have not provided contact details, however, when you to this email, your reply will go direct to my email inbox".

    Alternatively you might contact them by other means - if you do so, we'd really like to hear how your case progresses.

    I wish you the best of luck in taking this case further.

    anorak
    admin
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  • started 8 September 2011
  • supporters 2
Coventry Rail Station in Coventry operated by Virgin Trains
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