7 November 2017
RMT Press Office:
Ahead of tomorrow’s strike action RMT warns that Chris Grayling’s plans for driver only trains on South Western Railway will discriminate against older and disabled passengers.
RAIL UNION RMT warns that Chris Grayling’s plans for driver only trains on South Western Railway will discriminate against older and disabled passengers.
The warning comes as an analysis of South Western Railway’s existing policy for protecting older and disabled passengers found 140 – or 7 out 10 – of the company’s stations are unstaffed. The current policy recognizes this by guaranteeing an additional member of staff on “every” and “all trains”, to help disabled and older passengers at unstaffed stations.
Under Chris Grayling’s plans for South Western however this policy will be ripped up as there will no longer be that guarantee of on train staffing. Where similar arrangements have been introduced on Southern disabled passengers have been left stranded at stations.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“We have already had concerns raised with us that de-staffing trains – especially when there are already so many unstaffed stations – will increase the risk of crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Now we know that 140 – or seven out of ten – of South Western Railway’s stations are unstaffed and that the company’s own existing policy for protecting disabled and older people recognizes this by guaranteeing a second member of staff on all and every train to help passengers on and off the train and also provided assistance when they are on the train.
“It is a scandal that under Chris Graylings plans for South Western protection for disabled and older people will be ripped up as there will no longer be the guarantee of a guard and instead the profits of the company will take priory over the needs of the most vulnerable in our society”
07831 465 103
Notes for editors
Extracts from existing South Western Railway Disabled Peoples Protection policy (full document attached as PDF)
• There is a member of staff on every train who can help you on or off the train to the platform
• There are various ways that we can make your journey possible. For example, all of our trains have a member of staff on board who will provide you with assistance with boarding if you are already on the platform before the train arrives, and they will help you alight from the train at your destination
• If you wish to travel to or from a station that is unstaffed when you need to use it or is inaccessible to you, we can still provide you with assistance to help you make your journey. For example, our on-train staff will provide you with assistance with boarding if you are already on the platform before the train arrives, and they will help you alight at your destination. We recommend that you contact us in advance if you wish to travel to or from these stations to allow our on-train staff to be aware and looking out for you.
• If a train terminates short of its destination, the on-train staff will make the necessary arrangements for assistance with your onward travel
• We have ramps at all our staffed stations and we have portable ramps on all our trains so on-train staff will be able to assist you to and from the train at unstaffed stations. Our on-train staff will help you on or off the train at those stations where there are no platform staff to assist you.
• Where it is necessary to make a manual public announcement, conductors will make every effort to ensure that clear, informative announcements are made