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How TfA helped me to complaint over South Eastern Trains’ staff support failure

Blog by Anne Novis MBE. This blog and its content reflect the views of the author only.

I had seen adverts on TV stating that disabled people could ‘Turn up and go’ to train stations. I wanted to visit London on a day that was not raining or too cold so thought this was great to decide on the day. So with my Personal Assistant we went to my nearest train station on South Eastern Trains service.

I was not prepared for the negative attitude of several members of staff who seemed to know nothing about the initiative and were very reluctant to let me travel let alone provide a ramp! I persisted in my attempt but my day was ruined as even on my return journey I met anger from the staff. They just did not wish to be inconvenienced and treated me like a naughty child.

So I complained to South Eastern Trains and asked Transport for All to assist me. They supported my complaint and managed to arrange a meeting with the regional manger of SET, myself and another disabled person who also had poor experience.

This led to policy changes for staff, training and disciplinary actions as well as apologies and compensation for my experiences. I was asked what I would like, I had always wanted to visit the Shard and go to a posh restaurant, so they agreed to fund these not just for me and my PA but also a guest. We all had a brilliant time, saw an amazing sunset from the top of the Shard and enjoyed a wonderful meal.

It was well worth making a formal complaint and getting TFA to assist, ensuring it was treated in a timely way and supporting me through the process. If we don’t complain other Deaf and Disabled people will continue to experience discrimination and difficulties using public transport.

Anne Novis MBE, Greenwich, Wheelchair user

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Examples of barriers faced by disabled and older people. for example, flight of stairs and gaps

Wheelchair and mobility scooter users are routinely refused access to buses and the Tube; Assistance dog users are illegally charged more by some minicab drivers; Dial-A-Ride still won’t go further than five miles.

Let’s change this, so that Disabled and older people can visit family and friends and live their lives without worrying about how to get around.

You can help make real progress by becoming a Transport for All member or donating today.

Picture of a wheelchair user holding a sign saying: don’t deny me my right to travel


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