RSSB admits DOO Trains disadvantage disabled passengers

RSSB admits DOO Trains disadvantage disabled passengers

20 October 2016

RMT Press Office:

Rail Bosses Standards body admits Driver Only Trains disadvantage disabled passengers as MPs call on Government and Southern to retain on-train staff guarantee.

The employer funded Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has admitted that disabled passengers who require assistance are disadvantaged by Driver Only (DOO) Trains and that extending DOO will further disadvantage passengers.
 
The report admits:
 
“Assistance for disabled access to trains is typically provided by platform staff, or by the guard at unstaffed stations. With DOO(P) in operation, assisted access requires a member of platform staff to be available to help the passenger… if no staff are present the passenger may be forced to travel to an alternative station and arrange onward travel from there.”
 
The report adds that extending DOO would mean disabled passengers would:
 
“…face greater requirements to book in advance, possibly facing additional travel restrictions, which would represent a move away from the current goal of making the railway more accessible for all.”
 
Additionally, a Parliamentary motion tabled by MPs has warned that:
 
“…train guards currently provide a safety critical role, which gives a guarantee of a second person on a train to provide assistance to passengers who require it…proposal to remove a second safety critical member of staff on Southern Rail services would be detrimental to access especially at unstaffed stations; calls on the Government and Southern Rail to ensure passengers retain this guarantee at all times; and further calls on the Government to undertake an equality impact assessment of DOO, if it has not yet done so, and to publish this and any other relevant work it has carried out.”
 
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
 
“The bosses own standards body admits that disabled passengers will be disadvantaged with Driver Only Operation.
 
“This goes to the heart of the argument about the guarantee that Southern won’t give, that disabled passengers will face severe difficulties travelling, especially if they need to use unstaffed stations.
 
“The fact that Southern want to plough ahead with their plans to remove Guards from trains shows that their actions are purely motivated by profit.”
 
Ends.
 
 
Notes:
 
6.3.1 Assisted access to travel (From RSSB 2015 DOO report)
 
Assistance for disabled access to trains is typically provided by platform staff, or by the guard at unstaffed stations. With DOO(P) in  operation, assisted access requires a member of platform staff to be  available to help the passenger. TOCs interviewed revealed that they  generally prefer passengers requiring assistance to book in advance,  although one operator stated that if a passenger does book in advance,  if no staff are present the passenger may be forced to travel to an alternative station and arrange onward travel from there.
 
Another operator stated that drivers may provide assistance, but that this was not universal and was essentially at the driver’s discretion.  Under DOO(P) passengers would face greater requirements to book in  advance, possibly facing additional travel restrictions, which would  represent a move away from the current goal of making the railway more  accessible for all. If DOO(P) is to be employed across the network it  would be preferable to have systems in place to ensure that passengers  requiring assistance are not excluded. Such measures would need to be  determined in discussions with TOCs prior to implementation of DOO(P)  and should be standardised across the railway network.
 
 
Early Day Motion tabled by Caroline Lucas – Accessible Trains
 
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/514
“That this House notes that in order for all passengers to be able to turn up and go at railway stations and on train services, stations must be adequately staffed and there should always be a second safety critical member of staff on a train; further notes that train guards currently provide a safety critical role, which gives a guarantee of a second person on a train to provide assistance to passengers who require it; notes that failure to provide the requisite staff to enable turn up and go travel should be considered a breach of train and station operators' safety and accessibility duties; is concerned that the Railway Safety and Standards Board warned in its 2015 report that under Driver Only Operation (DOO) passengers would face greater requirements to book in advance, possibly facing additional travel restrictions, which would represent a move away from the current goal of making the railway more accessible for all; believes that the proposal to remove a second safety critical member of staff on Southern Rail services would be detrimental to access especially at unstaffed stations; calls on the Government and Southern Rail to ensure passengers retain this guarantee at all times; and further calls on the Government to undertake an equality impact assessment of DOO, if it has not yet done so, and to publish this and any other relevant work it has carried out.”

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Tagged with: rssb, rail safety and standards board, doo, driver only operation, disabled passengers