Posted by admin | Posted in Legislation, News, Publications, Reports | Posted on 04-09-2012
By David Johnson and Guest Editor, ‘James’
UPDATE Response from Network Rail at bottom.
We have received a rather disturbing Email relating to the alleged actions of two members of Network Rail staff based at London Paddington, ‘James’ as we will call the person, is partially sighted, and often relies on the assistance of railway staff when travelling about the network.
‘James’ has had problems trying to get any help from the Network Rail ‘Helpline’ and has also been brushed off by Network Rail’s corporate office. When contacting the Helpline by Email, ‘James’ received an automated response from the Community Relations Team.
Here is the Email we have been sent. We have removed any names or descriptions of staff to protect them from reprisals.
We cannot verify the claims in this Email, and there are always two sides to a story, and as such have asked the Network Rail press office to comment, we are currently waiting a response from them.
Dear Penalty Fare Appeal Support,
My name is ‘James’ and I am a partially sighted male who has Glaucoma. I regularly travel on the railway to get to see my family before my vision completely disappears. I have had many successful journeys where the train staff are brilliant, and then there are the journeys where I wish that I could have my full vision back because of the actions of some staff.
As I know you champion the rights of passengers who get issued Penalty Fares wrongly, and I have too been one of these people, I thought you would be able to help me get justice on the following incident.
I was travelling through Paddington after having had a successful and pleasant journey on Great Western last Saturday and was trying to reach the Underground station to get to Kings Cross. Now I did not know the layout had changed and as such I was finding it hard to reach the Underground station having gone the way I used to go.
A member of Great Western staff, I think they were Great Western, was very helpful and explained how to get to the station. However I had to ask another member of staff who was wearing a yellow vest, which I think said XXXXXXXX however I’m not sure as I found it hard to read, how to get to the Underground station. He said “Well you’ve got eyes haven’t you? Cant you read?” I found this to be extremely offensive and verbally abusive to me.
I found out the Mans name from another member of staff and also that he worked for Network Rail, this Mans name was XXXXXXXX. As I was very shocked over a member of rail staff saying this to me, a person with a disability, I had to find a place to calm down. As I returned to continue my journey I heard the same member of staff chatting with another member of staff saying “XXXXXXXX sometimes I wish people would just learn to read the signs” the other member of staff replied “Yeah I know I wish these black morons would indeed learn to read.”
This as you can understand is disgusting behaviour and I am trying to get justice. I have contacted the Network Rail helpline and was told to email in, I did and have received a bog standard brush off from the Community Relations team. I have Emailed David Higgins, and have had no response. It seems to me that Network Rail don’t give a damn about disabled passengers and instead would wish us to go away.
Hopefully you will be able to help me.
Response from Network Rail:
A complaint has been received by our community relations team, who deal with enquiries from members of the public, and they are looking into it.