Latest Rail News

13.11.17

Southern DOO trains comply with disabled passenger policy, ORR states

Following a period of monitoring, the ORR is satisfied that Southern has continued to comply with its Disabled People’s Protection Policy following its move to driver-only operated (DOO) services.

The regulator has concluded its review of Southern train’s customer service for disabled passengers and decided that the TOC is still complying with safety standards even without a second member of staff.

For more than a year, rail union the RMT has held strikes over Southern’s move to driver-only operated trains, which it says will compromise passenger safety and could cause issues for disabled passengers.

The ORR first started to engage with the train operator ahead of its planned changes to staffing arrangements in January 2017, to assess whether it could remain compliant with its policy in instances where there was not second person on a train to assist a passenger who required assistance.

In the period between February and May, this affected 48 passengers, but review found that Southern made alternative arrangements and all of these passengers successfully completed their journeys.

In order to continue to meet the requirements in its Disabled People’s Protection Policy, the train operator introduced a shift coordinator to ensure sufficient availability of staff to provide assistance, and reviewed the training of agency staff on the use of ramps.

A dedicated team has also been implemented to help passengers via help points in stations.

Stephanie Tobyn, deputy director of consumers at ORR, said: “All passengers deserve to travel with confidence. Southern has responded well to our concerns and made improvements.

“It is important that all train companies continually work to make it easier for everyone to travel by train.

“That is why we will be talking to industry and disability groups about areas we will outline for potential improvement.”

ORR is due to publish its research findings about the experience of passengers who receive assistance from train companies shortly, and says that it will consult with industry and disability groups to identify areas for improvement.

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Comments

PP   13/11/2017 at 15:50

Yet more evidence that the RMT's continued action is utterly futile and against their members' best interests, and the excuse of sticking up for passengers is nonsense. They're placing disabled and vulnerable passengers in far more danger and at far greater risk of being stranded by carrying on with this politically-motivated charade.

Andrew Gwilt   13/11/2017 at 18:50

But does this mean that there will still be strikes happening not just Christmas and New Year. But also next year aswell.

Dave   14/11/2017 at 12:51

Try telling that to the disabled folk who cannot get onto trains because there was no onboard staff or station staff to help them, even though they booked it all on the phone in advance.

John Grant   14/11/2017 at 14:35

"Southern made alternative arrangements and all of these passengers successfully completed their journeys". On GN (which doesn't have OBS on any trains) that seems to mean they send a taxi to take them to a staffed station.

Jonathan Hillas   14/11/2017 at 20:21

But still means they cant turn up and go like able bodied people though

James Palma   16/11/2017 at 15:40

While it is a shame that some people are unable to participate in life as others can, provision was made for them to undertake a journey. Where does the line get drawn? Do we account for everybody's disability to the detriment of progress and efficiency? Do I as an able Bodied person need to suffer physically and financially to accommodate more wheel chair users on an already packed train? Should I be excluded as an able bodied person from traveling to make way for someone who does not pay for their fare in the London area to allow them to get to work and for me to be late for work, despite the fact my taxes and fares pay for that person to travel and to get paid potentially a higher salary than me? Just some questions for everyone to consider on DDA issues. But one last comment. Society should enable whatever it reasonably can to enable people to travel. However. This should be for the overall public good. Not only for a minority that people are made to feel guilty for not accommodating .

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