Patrick Thompson

To Continue.. Or Not!

Posted on May 18, 2019

Public transport is well adapted to be suitable for wheelchair bound people, although particularly with trains there can be problems getting staff to give assistance. (If they are not told in advance about disabled travellers). A good friend of mine travelled by train from London to the north east, he had pre-booked his train travel for the first half of his journey because he wanted to stop off to meet an ex-colleague for 24 hours. When he continued his north bound journey he asked a station porter if he could guide him to the most suitable part of his next train. The porter asked “Are you pre-booked on this train?” My friend answered that he wasn’t pre-booked but as this train only had a ‘stop time’ of 7 minutes he needed some assistance to board. The porter then consulted his control room who again asked if the passenger was pre-booked. By the time the conversation was completed 4 minutes of the trains stop time had elapsed. Then the porter asked “How far north do you intend to travel, the first two carriages only complete the journey, others terminate at York.” My friend said he needed to board the train to travel beyond York and now he had only 2 minutes to do so. The porter took my friend to the first carriage and then said “I need to check with ‘on-board colleagues’ about suitable placement’. Needless to say that by the time this further ‘radio-contact’ with other train staff was completed, the train was leaving! My friend,(in his wheelchair) had another 55 minutes to wait, so keeping his agitation well under control he asked the porter “Please try to arrange a suitable place on the next train for me.”  The porter replied “Come to me when the train arrives and I’ll see what can be organised”  Sometimes life can be really frustrating !

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