11 January 2017
RMT Press Office:
Southern Rail leave disabled woman stranded on cold, dark platform for two hours.
The Eastbourne Herald and the West Sussex County Times today reported on a disabled woman who was left stranded on Hampden Park train platform in the freezing cold for more than two hours because there was no one to help her on to a train.
It was reported that 'Sandra Nighy, 56, of Highfields, Tarring, uses a wheelchair and regularly books assistance on Southern trains. However on Friday night (January 6) she was abandoned on the platform as no-one arrived to help her.'
She said: “The train pulled up and the doors opened, but no one came to assist me. “I kept pressing the button to open the doors in an attempt to alert someone. “The driver then got out of his cab to say there was no OBS (on board supervisor) on the train and he was not trained to help me. “I could see he felt really bad – the whole situation was horrible and embarrassing and it us unforgiveable when I had booked assistance 48 hours in advance.”
Mick Cash RMT General Secretary said “Sadly this woman’s dreadful experience is just one of many examples that are now being drawn to the RMT’s attention of disabled passengers being unable to use trains because there is no second person on board.
“It is everything we predicted would happen when the company refused to guarantee a second safety critical member of staff on board and it is disgraceful that the truth about what Southern are doing is exposed in such an inhumane fashion. It also exposes the fallacy of Southern's empty promise that trains would run with two members of staff except in exceptional circumstances, as this instance is far from exceptional.
“The RMT understands that on Saturday (January 7th) a disabled woman at Pevensey station was nearly left behind because there was no OBS on her train, and it was only because the driver went well above and beyond the call of duty that the lady was ultimately able to board the train. This action resulted in a 17 minute delay to the service. Pevensey station is situated in the constituency of Tory MP Huw Merriman, who has repeated Southern’s untrue claim that there will be a second member of staff on these trains
“Many passengers, including disabled people are now in fear over their safety and the need for assistance on trains because of the disgraceful attitude of this company and this government.”
A disabled woman was left stranded on a station platform because there was no one to help her onto a train. Sandra Nighy, from Worthing, uses a wheelchair and regularly books assistance on Southern trains, however on Friday (January 6) she had to be left behind.