Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My day out - aka Never travel with Arriva Wales

Had a really nice day out yesterday, went by train down to Newport in Wales with the kids to see my mum. Its a little under an hour by train so we did it as a day trip. Because I know how little Skye walks, I took the double buggy. From swindon it was no problem, asked the station staff where on the train the disabled spaces were, they told me, and advised where on the platform to stand so the relevant carriage would stp right next to us, helped us onto the train ... couldn't be faulted all in all.

Got to Newport, met mum, had lunch, went shopping, got the most gorgeous Bob the builder desert style boots for Garin, he looks sooo cute in them, got Skye some ankle boots for school, girly stuff yadayada , you know the kind of thing lol. Finished with a nice coffee and then headed home again.

Got to Newport station and the day took a turn for the worse. We were told to go to platform 2, so we did, 1 minute to go before the train was due in, they announced a platform change. Off we headed to the lift, helping an elderly lady with her luggage, got to the other platform just in time to see the train pulling out. Well thanks for waiting guys!! Half an hour later the next train arrived, alas no disabled space. By this time both kids were knackered so no way I could get them to walk, added to which there is a significant gap between the platform and train, two littlies, one not steady on her feet, one an accident looking for a place to happen ... wasn't going to happen was it!! So asked the dispatcher for help. He shrugged, nothing he could do about it. Train left without us.

As he walked off the dispatcher glared at me, ' you could always fold the pushchair up' . so I explained the situation, he walked off!!

Went round to the station office to ask if they could find out if the next train, due another half an hour away, would have room for us, and if we could get some help getting on. The attitude was one of couldn't care less. No straight answer, lots of shrugging and cannot be arsedness . Back to the platform, waited, and eventually the next train arrived. Asked the dispatcher where the disabled space would be, ' Look for one' came the reply. Followed by ' its for disabled, not for you , just fold the pushchair up can't you' So once again, and by this time fighting not to burst into tears with frustration, I explained, Skye has a heart problem and probs with her leg, she cannot walk far, etc etc. To which came the reply ' well shouldn't have had them if you can't cope with them should you'

I walked away, found the disabled space, got on and sat down. Train pulled out and I spent the whole journey back fighting the urge to cry my eyes out. How stupid, rude and ignorant do people get ? These are supposedly professional staff, supposedly trained ( pardon the pun) to deal with and assist disabled customers. Yeah bloody right they do, by making damn sure they feel so shit they never want to travel with them again!!

Got back to Swindon and back to decent, helpful station staff !!

Arriva Wales, don't bother with them, they are useless. Great Western rail, Brilliant and total stars !!!

Rant over lol


The Life of a Paed Heart Transplant Recipient said...

I'm sorry to read about the terrible customer service you received hun. You MUST put in a formal complaint about this. I know it's a faff but it's got to be done.

They should be incredibly ashamed of the way that you were treated.


Posh Totty said...

Its actually against the law to discriminate against disabled people, whether they be young or old, you have grounds for a very strong worded complaint ;o)