Search

It's Not About The Doors!

Exposing DfT/Govia Lies

Month

October 2016

SOUTHERN RAIL AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CROWD SAFETY

 

We have kindly been given permission to republish this blog by Dr John Drury, a Social Psychologist at the University of Sussex, and a crowd behaviour expert. He appeared on BBC Sussex this morning to discuss crowd behaviour and passengers’ safety concerns about Southern Rail. 

We have consistently maintained that this dispute is about safety, accessibility and security. For years us guards have struggled to provide passengers with information as the company cut Control staff, preferring passengers to do the work themselves through social media because it is cheaper. With the correct investment in staff, in rolling stock, in infrastructure, in maintenance, and in information, the railway should be safe, reliable and affordable for everyone. Underneath we republish the ABCommuters’ report and testimonies referred to in the blog and discussed on BBC Sussex.  

BBC Sussex programme here. Listen from 2:09:00.  

Dr John Drury can be contacted here.

dft-safety-request-copy


I was asked today to appear on BBC Radio to comment on a report from the Association of British Commuters which described the recent experiences of passengers on Southern Rail trains and platforms. These testimonies painted a picture of stress, anxiety and fear for many passengers. The passengers’ concerns seemed understandable. People did not feel safe on the trains and platforms.

Based on the research on the psychology of crowd safety, two factors that are important in enhancing or diminishing the sense of safety that people feel in a crowd: density and relationships of trust.

On density, we know that density of five people per square metre (5ppm2) and above is objectively dangerous. Any push in a crowd of this density can cause a shock wave and a fatal crush. And dense crowds have very poor front-to-back communication, meaning that those at the back of a crowd have no idea how dense and dangerous it is at the front. So those at the back of a densely-packed platform could accidentally push those at the front onto the rail without realising.

Yet our research has shown that, in many crowds of far greater density than 5ppm2, people report feeling safe. This is what we found in our study of pilgrims’ experiences in the Grand Mosque, Mecca, during Hajj. So what is the other factor that matters, that might be responsible for the feelings of anxiety and fear among Southern Rail passengers?

The other factor is a relationship of trust – specifically between the crowd and those managing the crowd, as our research on other kinds of stressful crowd events has shown. Commuters on trains rely on the company managing the trains and the stations. They rely on them:

  • To manage the numbers. When this isn’t done it undermines trust and confidence.
  • To have sufficient personnel available. This is one of the problems highlighted by the Association of British Commuters (ABC) report.
  • To ensure the personnel are sufficiently trained. One passenger comment in the ABC report is this: ‘on strike days, … more concern for me is that there never seem to be any safety-qualified staff either on the stations or on the trains’
  • To communicate reliably and regularly

If the company cannot be relied upon to do these things, the result is quite understandable passenger fear and anxiety.

Finally, the BBC asked me about the dangerous behaviour by some passengers. Crowds of people made ‘mad dashes’ across platforms to get to trains, sometimes risking their own and others’ safety. And there were repeated reports of fighting.

Anxiety and fear alone cannot account for these responses. When we looked at the behavioural responses of those commuters caught up in the London bombings of July 7th 2005, we found fear but we found almost none of these ‘antisocial’ responses. In both cases (bombing and Southern Rail today) there was ‘scarcity’ – either of safe passage or of trains running. But only in the case of Southern Rail today are these passengers put in the position of being individuals competing against other individuals. With a scarcity of trains, people defined as ‘customers’ compete, like people fighting over bargains in a sale. And with no reliable information from the companies, it is not surprising that people treat the next train as perhaps their last chance of getting home. Based on what we know about how common fate changes the boundaries of concern for people faced with disaster, perhaps the solution is collective identity and action as passengers (not ‘customers’) to change the current situation for the common good.


123

UPDATED ACCESSIBILITY MAP TO ACCOUNT FOR EXPANDED DOO AREA FOLLOWING AXING OF GUARD

We have been asking passengers and staff members over the last few months to ask for Accessibility Maps at ticket offices on the Southern network. These maps inform passengers who need assistance whether stations are staffed and if there is step-free access amongst other things, pretty essential if you are travelling in a wheelchair. We discovered that there were no current paper Accessibility Maps to be found and we challenged the company to justify why this was the case. It was obvious to us that this was because GTR were holding off publishing a new map because they were waiting until they had forced through Driver Only Operation over the entire network and did not want to alert staff or disabled passengers that this was their intention. They wanted to save money and increase profits by not printing a map they would soon have to change again. That is the contempt they hold for passengers with special needs. Needless to say GTR refused to grace us with a reply.

In response we decided to update the Accessibility Map ourselves and published this article a month or so ago. At the time we were just speculating what the effect of removing the 2nd safety critical person from the train would have on the ability of disabled and vulnerable passengers to ‘turn up and go’. We had to guess from our route knowledge which stations would be negatively affected and adapted the map accordingly. It took quite a lot of work to make the new map but what a waste of time it turned out to be! No sooner had we published it when GTR/Southern began to rollout their new network map on 377 rolling stock. It’s not an updated Accessibility Map but they had obviously(!) used our new map as a template as they have tried to negate our negative representation of the ‘red triangle’ with a sleight of hand trick to show how many stations are wheelchair friendly by using a ‘green tick’. Very positive! A brief glance at the map shows a green tick almost everywhere (in fact some stations have a tick which they don’t warrant). However it is in the legend where the reality of the situation is revealed. It states,

“Step-free access between train and platform requires a staff-operated ramp. If you require a ramp or need help getting on or off trains, please book this in advance and we’ll make sure staff are available to help, otherwise there may be a significant delay to your journey.”

So in other words, there won’t be a second staff member on board the train as promised by GTR! It was a complete waste of time updating the map because now if you want to travel and need assistance you must ALWAYS book in advance from ANY station! The strange thing is GTR have not provided a minimum time to book! So does it mean that you can ring ten minutes before or does it need to be 24hrs? Your guess is as good as ours! Also the map is placed around 6ft high. How is someone in a wheelchair supposed to see it? Here it is so you can see the pre-booking advice for yourselves:

377-new-map-detail

And here is the full map. Lots of green ticks everywhere but unfortunately you cannot board the train unless you have booked in advance. You can get on to the station but YOU CAN’T GET ON THE TRAIN! (We have not checked all the ticks but we have noticed one glaring mistake – a green tick for Glynde where there is only 1 platform step-free, back to the drawing board GTR):

377mapbetter

So back to the Accessibility Map.

This is the current Southern Station Accessibility Map:

original-map-small-copy

Below is an edited Southern Station Accessibility Map to account for expanded Driver Only Operation area following axing of second safety critical staff member from trains. We have emphasised the East and West Coastway, Seaford and Oxted routes (we have corrected the non-electrified route to Uckfield which we believe will retain 171 rolling stock and therefore Guards, for now – thanks to whoever tweeted us this info). We are not sure of staffing at stations north of Redhill but we will edit further once we know more. Please help us with any extra information to increase accuracy.

At the moment, as can be seen in the map above, any passenger requiring assistance can ‘turn up and go’ at any accessible station on these lines due to a guard being present on the train (normally marked by a green or yellow circle with black outline). In the map below we have added the orange triangle with red surround to demonstrate how this will change: 24 hours notice would now be needed to ensure there is no significant delay to passenger journey and that there is someone there to provide assistance. Please see the key on the map for further information.

map-small-updated-10-11-16-copy

 

PICKET LINE VISIT FROM DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS ACTIVIST

We always welcome blog submissions – as long as we substantially agree with the content! This is a great article sent in by Brighton guards; it is written by a Disabled People Against Cuts activist who joined them on the picket line. The accessibility issue is beginning to receive the attention it deserves. GTR and the DfT must carry out a proper assessment of the impact axing the second safety critical staff member will have on passengers who require assistance, as recommended by the Transport Select Committee. Until then their ‘modernisation’ plans should be put on hold.

We encourage more people to join picket lines in future at Barnham, Brighton, Eastbourne, Horsham, Selhurst and Victoria Traincrew depots. Safety, Accessibility and Security on the railway isn’t just the guards’ fight, it’s everyone’s fight!  


btn-191016I’ve hit the RMT picket line outside Brighton Station, last week and then again this week. You may think that as a member of DPAC I’d have better things to do what with the continued pernicious WCA, the ongoing PIP roll out, the various other assaults on the dignity, independence and in some cases the very lives of the sick and disabled in this country by an invidious Government who prefer to make sure that the public purse supports the rich, the multi-nationals and the bankers who continue to rape, pillage and loot public services for private gain. With our NHS on the brink of collapse and doctors forced to work under unsafe working conditions thanks to the enforced introduction of a ludicrous contract putting patients and doctors, as well as other medical staff, in danger.

Yesterday I went to the Travel Centre at Brighton Railway Station and asked for the Station Accessibility Guide. I depend on a power chair to give me independent mobility. I often travel to various places and, like most people, these journeys aren’t always pre-planned. I thought it would be handy to have a leaflet to hand so if I decided that I wanted to go to St Helier to visit a friend I could just look at it to find out whether I can get off the train there … I’ve looked now BTW and for those who are interested, the answer is a resounding No! I can neither get on nor off a train there or any number of other places.

Bless the poor fellow I approached with my request. No, there was no Station Accessibility Guide however he could print one off for me. He pushed a couple of buttons, went to the printer and got me … a nice little print of Brighton Station showing me where the toilets, the benches and the step free entrances were. Thank you but no, that is not what I was after. I wanted to get a Station Accessibility Guide for all the stations on the Southern routes. You’d have thought there would be a leaflet but it seems that they no longer print them.

In fact the last time one printed was way back in 2012 as far as I know. He went to the back office, came back and told me he could print one off for me. He did. It wasn’t very clear as it was an A4 print of what was essentially an A3 map but the reading of it was even worse than the lack of clarity. The number of Stations that on the 19th of October 2016 are inaccessible for those needing assistance on and off the trains is frightening.

Here is a link for those who want to view the current Network Accessibility Map:

http://www.southernrailway.com/…/network_map_accessibility_…

I wasn’t really thinking of making public my reasons for attending Brighton Station, leaving my home at 6am to make my way there to join a load of guards picketing; to stand, or in my case sit, there for a few hours in the cold. But this changed my mind.

People need to know that this is about far more then who closes the doors on the train. This is about the safety and security of passengers and staff which is being sold out for the sake of increased profits for Capitalists who will continue to reap in profits … Southern Rail co-owner, Go-Ahead, reported profits of 100 million according to an article in BBC Business on 2nd September 2016 … while depending on subsidies from the Public Purse. The total subsidy to DfT franchised train operators was 5.7 pence per passenger mile in 2015-16, up from 5.6 pence per passenger mile in 2014-15 for those interested (source: Department for Transport dated 13th October 2016).

A couple of years ago I needed to get to Chester for a course I was to attend. It was quite a lengthy journey from my home in Brighton and so I planned ahead and made sure I contacted Assisted Travel well in advance of my prospective journey. In fact it was about a week or so before. As it happened, trouble started as soon as I arrived in Euston to get on my Chester bound part of the journey. I wasn’t on the list. Never mind, if I cared to wait someone would put me on the train. As an aside, no one saw fit to inform me that there was no refreshment trolley, that the wheelchair space was in full sunlight space with no room to move and that the canteen on the train was not accessible for lone wheelchair using travellers.

When we got to Chester, everyone alighted from the train and I waited for someone to fetch the ramp to get me off the train. The train started filling up with people London bound and I was still waiting. No one had seen fit to inform the driver, the conductor nor the destination station that a wheelchair passenger was on the train. I had to push the alarm to avoid being returned to London.
In January of this year I had an early appointment in London. I was quite ready to take a late train to London and spend the night at Victoria Station to make sure I’d get to my appointment on time. No need I was informed by the helpful staff at the Travel Centre at Brighton Station. There is a train at 6:48am that will get you there in plenty of time. I duly presented myself at Brighton station at 6am. I was assisted on to the train at 6:40am. At 6:50am the train was full to bursting with commuters and we were informed that we would be diverted via Lewes.

I decided to get off the train but, due to a lack of ramps, and the fact that the cover to the alarm button was locked, I was unable to contact the guard. To cut a long story short, I spent 2.5 hours being dragged through Lewes, to Haywards Heath to a field half way to Three Bridges where we sat for about 15 minutes before being told that we were being diverted back to Haywards Heath where I finally managed to get off the train. To get a train back to Brighton having totally missed my appointment. It took me a further 2 months to finally get someone in Southern Rail to address my complaint.

What happened was a lack of communications between the various bodies … In the first instance a failure by the Assisted Travel people to communicate with the appropriate station staff and then down the chain of command, for want of a better phrase; in the second instance, failure to communicate with the guard and failure to make the alarm button available to the disabled passenger. And yes in this case I was a disabled passenger and not just a wheelchair using passenger as I was disabled by the lack of access to an alarm button that would have alerted the guard to my existence.

Guards on the train do a lot more than merely ensure that the doors are shut. They are there to ensure that passengers are safe. If a passenger needs assistance to alight a train, if a passenger is harassed by a drunk on the train … what happens if a passenger suddenly gets taken ill or worse, what if the driver suddenly experiences a heart attack? It is the guard who will be able to ensure that the train does not run away with a load of hapless passengers by making it safe and ensuring that the powers that be stop any other trains from shunting into it causing a collision with all the consequences of a high speed collision.

And yes … on a purely personal basis, given the number of inaccessible stations already on the list of possible stops, these inaccessible stations will only increase with the removal of guards.

EVALUATING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS TO SUPPORT DRIVER ONLY OPERATION TRAIN DISPATCH

rssb-report-doo

Click the link for the Charles Horton (CEO of GTR) led RSSB report into nationwide guard redundancies as a means of saving money on the railways.

More on this later!

 

 

GTR  CLAIM  ‘FORCE  MAJEURE’ TO JUSTIFY THEIR POOR PERFORMANCE

As a matter of urgency we reproduce the text below and following this we have also added the relevant section from the Transport Select Committee report, The future of rail: Improving the rail passenger experience.  Journalists, MPs, and union officials should be applying maximum pressure for GTR to now justify their claim for force majeure – the blaming of their staff for their abysmal performance over the late spring and summer months up to the present. The TSC itself suggests a deadline of early November. It is clear that the DfT are underwriting GTR’s poor performance while the dispute is running. Don’t take our word for it read the report written by 6 Tory MPs, 4 Labour MPs, and 1 Scottish National Party MP who make up the Transport Select Committee. We hope to return to this particular blog at some point to add some further analysis.


Force majeure—a contractual term, commonly used in rail franchise agreements, for events that lead to an operator failing to meet contractual performance obligations, but which are beyond the operator’s control.

Below is an extract from the October 2016 Transport Select Committee:

“The data provided made clear that GTR’s actual performance against its cancellations benchmarks is now significantly in excess of the contractual breach and default levels: cancellations exceeded the default level in Reporting Periods 3 and 4, 2016/17 (29 May to 23 July).81 Data subsequently provided confirmed that cancellations exceeded the default level in Reporting Period 5 (24 July to 20 August).82 In normal circumstances this would be grounds for termination of the contract; however, GTR had made claims for force majeure in relation to official and unofficial industrial action in each Reporting Period since 28 April 2016.”

The Transport Select Committee Report released on the 14th October 2016 reveals that GTR have claimed force majeure for each reporting period since 28th April 2016.

The report also highlights that GTR have yet to provide the evidence to allow the DFT to rule on their claim: “the force majeure claims were being assessed “as they come in”, but GTR had not yet provided enough evidence on which to make an assessment, and the “pace of submission of each claim” had not been “as expected”.

GTR are claiming force majeure for their breach of contractual obligations by attempting to blame unofficial industrial action in the form of increased conductor sickness for the collapse of the Southern rail service, which they claim has prevented them achieving the required performance  benchmarks.

The following points should illustrate GTR’s actions rather than unofficial industrial action were responsible for the collapse of Southern rail services and therefore force majeure should not apply:

  • Failing to employ sufficient conductors and drivers to operate the service. This is the core of the problem. This shortage of Traincrew is highlighted between April and October due to the demands of covering not only summer holidays but also Traincrew using up banked rest days.
  • The bullet points that follow not only highlight GTR’s attempts to “stress” conductors but to also ensure that more services than necessary were cancelled. GTR then blamed the increase in cancellation on unofficial industrial action, to distract from the fact that they employed insufficient Traincrew to meet their franchise commitments.
  1. Removing parking permits.
  2. Removing travel passes from conductors and their families.
  3. Removing the right to mutual changeovers which enabled Conductors to swap with their colleagues so as to facilitate child care and for these with responsibilities as carers within their families.
  4. Instigating campaigns such as “Strike Back” which endangered conductor safety and well-being. (To date no apology has been offered).
  5. Disregarding conductor Terms and Conditions and increasing enforced overtime. An example of disregarding Terms and Conditions is the following: conductor booked 15.00 spare on a Saturday being moved to a night shift. This resulted in the conductor only getting 25 hours 43 minutes between finishing the night shift and starting the day shift on Monday. The recommended minimum time between finishing nights and commencing days is 48 hours. When this was raised with the company they further reduced the time between nights and days to 25 hours 11 minutes .
  6. Removing the right of conductors to work rest days.
  7. Cancelling services due to lack of train crew when crew available.
  8. Not booking return to work medicals with the company’s Health Centre for conductors/drivers whose own doctors have signed as fit to work. This meant that perfectly healthy conductors and drivers sat about in the mess room for periods of 3-6 weeks as they could not carry out Safety Critical work until passed as fit by the Health Centre.
  9. Conductors encouraged to take voluntary redundancy.

HAS THERE BEEN AN INCREASE IN SICKNESS LEVELS ?

It should not be seen as surprising if sickness levels did increase amongst conductors during this period, when you consider the stress that they were deliberately put under by the Company .

The conductor role demands that they spend their working day in contact with the customers. When the  train service is in a constantly degraded state and the company, to cover for their own failings, publicly puts the blame for this on to conductors, then the possibility of an increase in sickness levels can  be seen as predictable consequence

It must be understood in assessing GTR’s claim that there has been unofficial industrial action through increased sickness,  that they have in previous years used the excuse of  unexpectedly high sickness levels to excuse poor performance. Here is an extract from an Office of Rail Regulation report released in August 2015:

“Southern Traincrew
58. Southern experienced a number of issues with Traincrew in 2014, including unforeseen high levels of sickness, training requirements for the new layout at London Bridge and Drivers declining to work overtime.” 3.7.2, p.27

The balance of probability would strongly suggest that it has been GTR’s efforts to camouflage the inadequate staffing levels for both conductors and drivers that has caused the collapse of the Southern rail service and the resultant misery inflicted on the travelling public.

It should be considered as unacceptable for GTR to allege that unofficial industrial action by conductors has played any part in this collapse of the Southern rail service.


The future of rail: Improving the rail passenger experience

The future of rail: Improving the rail passenger experience

The future of rail: Improving the rail passenger experience

The future of rail: Improving the rail passenger experience


 

WHY WE ARE STRIKING

Please print these off and distribute wherever possible or just spread online. Right now it’s safely hidden away on the RMT website away from prying eyes. Scroll to ‘Govia Thameslink Railway Dispute – the Facts’ and just below click on ‘show me more about this topic’.

Layout 1

Layout 1

REVENUE PROTECTION OR CUSTOMER SERVICE? GTR’S “MODERNISATION PLANS” AND THE FUTURE FOR DISABLED ACCESS ON SOUTHERN RAIL

 

It’s Not About the Doors introduction:
Below we reprint an email distributed to union reps (with our amendments for comprehension). It argues that the real reason for GTR/Southern Rail’s axing of the guard is not to improve customer service but to meet franchise commitments for revenue protection. It’s a win-win for GTR/Southern: save on staffing costs while meeting targets and achieving bonuses. However, unsurprisingly, there appear to be no bonuses at stake for improving accessibility for disabled and vulnerable passengers. They will be a major loser as ‘turn up and go’ access is sacrificed for increased profits. Any further extension to DOO should be halted until its effect on disabled and vulnerable passsengers has been properly assessed.
————————————————————————

Concerns are being raised regarding the effect Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) “modernisation” plans will have on the rights of disabled passengers to turn up and access rail services without pre-booking.

Those sharing these concerns will note with interest the following point from the Transport Select Committee (TSC) report released on Friday 14 October 2016:


We are concerned that no official impact assessment has been made of the potential effects of DOO [Driver Operated Only] on disabled people’s access to the railway. We recommend the DfT [Department for Transport] and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) jointly commission research into the potential effects of DOO on the “turn up and go” accessibility of the railway to disabled people who require assistance getting on and off trains. The Department should draw on this research to issue guidance to train operating companies on the measures that should be taken to mitigate potential detrimental effects on disabled people’s access. It should ensure that actions are taken to guarantee that disabled rail passengers receive the support to which they are entitled. The research should be conducted, and guidance published, before summer 2017.

GTR’s intention to introduce DOO over the Southern network will remove the right afforded to the disabled under the 2010 Equality Act to be able to access train services without pre-booking like everyone else. The requirement to provide the right of access to disabled customers is met at present within the Non-DOO area by the necessity to have the guarantee of the second Safety Critical member of staff on every service before it can run. Once DOO is introduced the requirement to pre-book assistance by giving 24 hours notice or face delay to their journey will apply to all those who require assistance to board train services. 
Listed below are the majority of the stations where disabled access will be negatively affected by this DOO extension:
 

Aldrington, Fishersgate, Southwick, Shoreham by Sea, Lancing, East Worthing, West Worthing, Durrington, Goring, Angmering, Ford, Chichester, Fishbourne, Bosham, Nutbourne, Southbourne, Emsworth, Warblington, Havant, Bedhampton, Hilsea, Fratton, Cosham, Portchester, Farnham, Eastleigh, Southampton Parkway, Swanwick, Burlesdon, Hamble, Netley, Sholing, Woolston, St Denys, Arundel, Amberly, Pulborough, Billingshurst, Christs Hospital, Littlehaven, Faygate, Ifield, Crawley, London Road, Moulscoomb, Falmer, Southease, Newhaven Town, Newhaven Harbour, Bishopstone, Seaford, Glynde, Berwick, Polegate, Hampden Park, Pevensey&Westham, Pevensey Bay, Normans Bay, Cooden Beach, Collington, Bexhill, St Leonard’s Warrior Square, Ore, Warnham, Ockley, Holmwood, Dorking, Uckfield, Buxted, Crowborough, Ashhurst, Cowden, Hever, Edenbridge Town, Hurst Green, Oxted, Woldingham, Upper Woldingham, Riddlestone, Sanderstead.

The TSC report also makes reference to the On Board Supervisor (OBS) role GTR are creating, by combining the Revenue Protection and Conductor grades,  and their claim that it will be a Customer Service role not a Revenue Protection role and indicating that this will give a greater level of service to all customers but particularly those who require disabled assistance.

Below is a Notice from the DfT published in May 2015 which shows clearly that this cannot be the case: 

Notice Summary

Title: Ticketless Travel Survey
Notice type: Prior Information Notice
Authority: DfT
Nature of contract: Services
Procedure: Not applicable
Short Description: The Thameslink Southern Great Northern (TSGN) franchise is operated by Govia Thameslink Railway Limited and will operate from 14th September 2014 to 19th September 2021. Within this franchise, passenger revenue risk has been assumed by the DfT and all ticketing and fares revenue is paid to it. Because the franchisee does not take revenue risk, the Secretary of State (SoS) has a requirement to ensure that the franchisee is operating in the same way it would if it was taking revenue risk. To ensure that passenger revenue is being maximised, the Franchise Agreement contains a requirement on the part of the SoS to undertake Ticketless Travel Surveys across the franchise. The Surveys are expected to be carried out quarterly with the first Survey to be completed before the 14th September 2015 and subsequent surveys starting in the quarter October – December 2015. The level of ticketless travel across the lifetime of the franchise will be a key measure of operator performance. There are a number of committed obligations in support of a reduction in ticketless and fraudulent travel including making it easier to purchase a ticket, e.g. increased number of ticket vending machines, mobile ticketing and a higher compliment of revenue protection inspectors (RPI). Benchmarks have been agreed between the franchisee and the SoS in support of a reduction in ticketless travel. To encourage the franchisee to meet and improve upon these benchmarks, financial incentives have been put in place. Should the franchisee not meet the benchmark target, it will be required to pay the SoS compensation for such failure. A methodology has been agreed by both parties which the surveys, provided under this contract, must follow. Each survey should identify rates for ticketless travel and revenue at risk. The Term of this contract is three years with the option to extend for a further 12 months. This Procurement is being run by Crown Commercial Service on behalf of DfT and we are aiming to launch the OJEU by the end of May 2015.
Published: 07/05/2015 10:49


This report states clearly that to avoid financial penalties and to be in a position to accrue financial bonuses GTR must operate with an increased Revenue Protection team. This exposes as ‘inaccurate’ GTR’s assertion that the OBS role would be Customer Service focused.
What they have done is remove the second Safety Critical member of staff from the train at the expense of Safety, Accessibility and Security to meet their obligations under the franchise to have a larger Revenue Protection team (OBS), without employing more staff. 

 
The DfT must ensure that the analysis recommended by the Transport Select Committee with regard to the effects of DOO on disabled access is commissioned without delay.
 
GTR’s “modernisation plans” have the extension of DOO at their core and therefore the DFT should ensure that they are not implemented until such time as the analysis recommended by the Select committee is completed .

It cannot be acceptable in a civilised society for plans to be implemented, under the guise of improving Customer Service, that restrict the ability of disabled customers to access rail services.

It is the responsibility of all the Stakeholders including the Department for Transport, Transport Select Committee, Politicians, Trade Unions, Rail Customers and Employees to ensure that this is not allowed to happen on Southern Rail.

PASSENGER ACCOUNT OF WATFORD JUNCTION TRAIN DERAILMENT, 16/09/16

It’s not about the doors! It’s not about who pushes a button! 

We have been sent this by a passenger who was travelling on the derailed 06:19 hrs service from Milton Keynes to London Euston on 16th September 2016. The train was comprised of two four-coach class 350 electric multiple units, a total of eight coaches.

While you may have seen the incident in the newspapers and on television what was not reported was that the driver of this train was trapped in the cab and the guard took over safety critical duties and train evacuation. We sat on this for a while with the hope our union would make something of this. Hopefully they will in the very near future. We will add more to this as soon as we can.

 The passenger states:

“The guard on the train after the derailment was amazing. She kept us inform via loudspeaker of all the different updates all the time (we were never left in the dark about what was happening, how far was the rescue train from us, etc.), first she told us they were going to evacuate us, then that they were going to move the people in the first 4 carriages on the last 4 and move the train out but as this was impossible and we’ll have to wait for a rescue train. When the emergency lights went off after a couple of hours and all the carriages went dark, she explained to us the reason why apart from updating us via loudspeakers, she walked up and down all the carriages few times, asking if people were alright, she then left opened all the inter-carriages connection doors as well as the outside doors to let some fresh air circulate in the all train She liaised with the firemen, paramedics and British Transport Police when they arrived And she also kept us all smiling by finishing all her messages by ‘Keep Calm’ …  Being on a derailment train made me realise how important the guard is while before I may not have pay much attention to the role of the guard.”

ITV news story here

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑