RMT looks to legal action over rights of disabled passengers

RMT looks to legal action over rights of disabled passengers

13 March 2017

RMT Press Office

RMT looks to legal action over rights of disabled passengers on Southern Rail

Rail union RMT confirmed today that is actively considering legal options over failure of Office of Rail Regulation to protect the rights of disabled passengers on Southern rail.

The Office of Road and Rail Regulation (ORR) has key responsibilities for overseeing the rights of disabled passengers on the railway, for example it is responsible for agreeing Train Companies Disabled Persons Protection Policy.

RMT’s concerns arise from reports from members and passengers that disabled passengers on GTR Southern are being treated less favourably than other passengers as a result of the company's decision to end the guarantee of a guard on new driver only services.

Specifically RMT believes that GTR Southern may not be complying with Rail Vehicle Access legislation which requires not only for Southern to provide ramps for disabled passengers to use on trains but also, the union believes, for staff to operate the ramps. The union’s solicitors first wrote to ORR on the issue on 20th December 2016 and has yet to receive a definitive response other than the ORR is engaged in “ongoing discussions” with Train Operating Companies regarding compliance with the regulations. The unions legal advice is that non-compliance with the regulations may be an offence.

In addition the union believes that the ORR did not and has not made a completed assessment of the effects generally on disabled passengers of removing the guarantee of a guard prior to GTR Southern implementing its changes.

Mick Cash RMT General Secretary said;

"It is obviously the case that if a disabled passenger once had the guarantee of a guard on their service and that guarantee is withdrawn then the disabled passenger has been disadvantaged. Far from being about modernisation driver only trains turns the clock back on the rights of disabled and older passengers.”

“Our solicitors first wrote to the Rail Regulator on this issue almost three months ago and have not received a definitive response which is deeply worrying, especially as any non-compliance by GTR may be an offence”

“We will now be consulting our legal team on further options but in the meantime are calling on the ORR as the disabled access regulator to make public their views on whether Southern are meeting their obligations to disabled passengers.”‎


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Tagged with: Southern, GTR, Guards Dispute