I’m writing to report my extraordinarily poor experience at Kew Gardens station.
Having booked assistance, because I’m paralysed and in a wheelchair, on the Passenger Assist app ( which has worked impressively well every other time I’ve used it ) I arrived at Kew Gardens 15 minutes early.
Every previous time I’ve booked assistance, a staff member is not only waiting for me, but even knows my name!
Tonight however it wasn’t at all like that. It started when I politely interrupted your only visible staff member to inform her I had assistance booked. A black lady ( in her 40’s I would say ) she was clearly somewhat put out that I’d spoken to her, and then further irritated when the entry barrier wouldn’t open for me and I had to ask her to help. She glared at me and said ‘ there’s only one of me, you know’. She was still helping another passenger with a machine ticket purchase I believe, but I’m sure staff are trained to be aware of disabled passengers who can’t get through the ticket barrier, and occasional need to assist them.
With 5 minutes to go, having seen no sign of a ramp appearing, I went back to the barrier and reminded her that I had booked assistance.
Clearly she had no idea what I was talking about. I said that the station would have received an email, I’m sure.
She said that she’d have to ask her supervisor, and maybe he had the email.
Clearly at this point I realised that if I wasn’t ‘ pushing ‘ for help, I wouldn’t be getting any.
Her colleague arrived, looking stressed, with a ramp. The black lady then said I’d been rude to her.. ! What, by asking her to assist me, as booked? There followed an exchange where I absolutely denied being rude to her, at which point she declared that she’d be reporting me to the police for abuse.
Is her definition of abuse being asked to assist a disabled person to enter the station and then board a train?
I felt offended and saddened by her attitude.
I’m sure she wouldn’t speak to someone able bodied in this manner, making her behaviour discrimination.
She needs proper training in customer service, and assistance to passengers who through disability are unable to be independent in boarding trains.
She declined to give me her name. I asked several times, and then also her colleague declined to give her name to me.
I can’t believe it’s TfL policy for staff to be unidentifiable? She’s in all likelihood lying to me, and breaking another rule.
My assistance was for Kew Gardens to Camden Road, on the 19.34 overground train.
This e-mail has been sent by an automatic system – please do not reply.
Customer Name: Russell Dawkin
Booking Reference: PA-87NXC0FP
Kew Gardens to Camden Road
Outbound Saturday 23 April, 19:34 BST
Return Saturday 23 April, 23:22 BST
Your request for assistance has been amended and confirmed by London Overground. Please head to the designated assistance meeting point or make yourself known to rail staff when you arrive at the station and use your assistance booking confirmation at the time of travel.
If you have any questions, need to make any changes or are unable to make this journey, then please contact London Overground on 0343 222 1234.
Please check the summary of your journey and assistance required, which is detailed below
I’m now feeling very distrustful reference train assistance, thanks to this example of disabled discrimination.
I await your comments.
Alfonso at Camden Rd hadn’t answered the phone call from Passenger Assist at 16.48.
He’d clearly not bothered to listen to a message, or call the number back.
Now how can your system have this big gaping hole in it – if your call hasn’t been acknowledged then how on earth do you know if the message to get the person in the wheelchair off the arriving train..has got through? What exactly is the person in the wheelchair going to do if no ramp turns up ? They can’t just get off the train !
Presumably they just have to stay on the train until the train stops running, or hope that someone will attend to the 999 call the stranded person has made?
FURTHERMORE when I asked about my booked return assistance, I was told no one was going to be there! Well how would I have known if I hadn’t asked about it? I’d have got there at 23.10 and then been totally stuck!
You couldn’t make this up to be honest. I’m appalled.
I’m in north london and having to stress about my travel. Your system is supposed to take this discrimination away.
The only staff member at the station told me his boss, Alfonso, had clocked off at 5pm.
Well if the phone call had come before then, which it clearly had ( because the staff member showed me the ‘ missed call ‘ from the clearly labelled Passenger Assist ) then why didn’t he pass the information on to the person he was leaving in charge? There’s clearly a complete lack of care at work here, and you need to take action to stamp this out.
I eventually had to ask some passengers to lift my wheelchair and myself off the train.
I’d wedged myself into the door so that it wouldn’t close. No one came. No alarm went off. I could have been a person collapsed and blocking the door, and no one would have come. It’s just mind boggling.