A disabled man claims he was refused access to a Southern train at Clapham Junction station despite asking staff for help boarding with a ramp.
Christoph Andrats, 58 from Tooting, was trying to travel from the station in Battersea to a wedding on Saturday, July 23, when he encountered two members of staff who delayed his journey.
In a blog for Transport for All, he said: “I arrived at platform 15 on Saturday afternoon, and asked a member of staff on the platform for assistance with a ramp to board a train.
“His response to my request was curt and unfriendly: ‘Next train’, with a jab of the finger in the direction of the track, and with that he disappeared.
“Then things got much worse.
“The train pulled in and I positioned myself by the door with the wheelchair logo, as I wanted to be placed in the wheelchair space on the train.
“The member of staff I had spoken to didn’t come with a ramp. I couldn’t see him until everyone had boarded, and then I saw that he was at the back of the train with the ramp.
“I waved to him. He refused to move. I pointed to the doors with the wheelchair logo. He shouted that I had to board at the back of the train, where there was no wheelchair space.
“Some of his colleagues told me that I had to get on at the back. I said no, I wished to travel in the wheelchair space. The man with the ramp did not budge, and kept gesturing me to come towards him.
“I did not want to travel in a part of the train without a wheelchair space because I do not consider this a safe or comfortable way to travel, so we reached an impasse. The man with the ramp let the train go, without me onboard.”
He goes on in the blog to say the guard refused to give his name after he was requested three times, and was not wearing a name badge.
Mr Andrats, who is retired, said he dealt with a second member of staff who told him he would have to get on the train where he was asked, not where he requested.
The blog claims: “He also make this extraordinary statement: “If you don’t know the rules, you shouldn’t come here“. This statement was too bizarre and silly to argue with, but it was also an act of intolerable rudeness.
“This second member of staff also refused to give his name, and was not showing a name-badge.
“Later they put me onto a train, in the wheelchair space as I had requested at first, and I was able to make my journey at last.”
A Southern spokesman said: “We are very concerned to hear about our passenger’s experience at Clapham Junction station and apologise for this. We are investigating this fully and are currently liaising with our passenger.
“We pride ourselves on the levels of customer service we provide, and these interactions are certainly not what we would expect from any of our staff.”
Source: Wandsworth Guardian