Trains - Priority Seats — Scope | Disability forum
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Trains - Priority Seats

mebeing Community member Posts: 6 Listener

Good Morning,

Looking for advice really, just to an incident on a train, I am a bit of a waffler, hence I will try to condense it:

In the train carriage there are 3 priority seats out of 26 seats in a carriage and all 3 priority seats are aisle seat.

Due to the current climate, they request that passengers seat at the window seat (which no priority seats are located), but my understanding is that the Equality act 2010 would supersede the request in relation to window seat, especially when all priority seat are aisle based (and I cannot fit into any other seat apart from a priority seat).

I am a disabled railcard holder and when this issue happened I sat in a priority seat (aisle) as I had done many times previously during these times.

The train manager approached me and said please move to a window seat, I informed him, I am a disabled passenger and I am sitting in a priority seat, and I cannot physically fit into any other seat, and if you wish I can show you my railcard.

Basically he repeating his request, I repeated my statement, then raised my voice repeating the aforementioned, at which point he said I am going to ask you for the final time are you refusing to move to a window seat and I replied correct.

The train manager then went off the train to get platform staff, at this point the lady who deal with the refreshment approached me and said she wished to diffuse the situation and could I please move to a window seat, I repeated what I informed the train manager to her and even said do you wish to see my blue badge as well, it was like I hadn’t said anything and she said again please move etc etc

Then the platform staff approached me, and said the train manager cannot do his job with me sitting in a aisle seat and could I move, I said as the above to him, offering to show him my railcard and blue badge and I had to repeat this twice and I said I cannot physically fit into any other seat.

That was end of that, train was delayed several minutes due to this and it departed.

Train manager was aggressive in his manner when asking for my ticket and I said do you normally speak to people like this and he said you were aggressive with me so it works both ways and I was very lucky as it if was up to him I would be off the train.

So if you raise your voice as you are being harassed with the same line of questioning to repeat you are disabled etc you are classed as aggressive.

Anyways my question is how do I move forward with do I have a printed sheet and not speak (as I don't want to be told I am aggressive, I know maybe slightly OTT) do I have on the table in front of me, my sunflower lanyard, disabled railcard, blue badge etc.

I did make a complaint and obviously the train manager said he never heard me say I was disabled even though I repeated it several times even raising my voice.

In my opinion this is a hate crime, as this said gentleman went out of this way to get me to move from a priority seat which accommodates my requirements to a non-priority seat, even though I had stated as previously mentioned, hence its discrimination etc, is my understanding correct ?

Also is my understanding of the Equality Act correct also in relation to sitting in a priority seat during this times on a train.

Thanks in advance for any replies, and that positive or negative, and all the best to everyone


  • mebeing
    mebeing Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Just to add I wish to reply to the email response from the train company and I wish to have any advice on that also, thanks
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome 

    I would say this was totally out of line and not an example of good customer service 

    As for hate crime I would say that is a bit strong . 

    It is no excuse but these people are under so much pressure to comply to covid guidelines and often dont get the training they need to deal with these situations 

    I would pursue your complaint so it gets highlighted and dealt with 

    I'm no expert on how the equality act covers transport but like all covid guidelines it allows for adjustments to be made in the rules to accommodate the needs of disabled 
  • mebeing
    mebeing Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Good Afternoon Janer1967,

    Firstly thank you for your reply, its appreciated, to have another insight to the situation, why I believe its a hate crime as that train manager was most definitely hostile and prejudiced, as soon as I said I am sitting in this seat as its a priority seat (he told me it wasn't a disabled seat, even though it was) and I am disabled and cannot physically fit into any other seat, it in my opinion should of been end of the situation, but he continually bated me for several minutes and I was continually repeating the aforementioned, additionally he got off the train to get platform staff to make my move seat, not that this matters, but this was the 1st class carriage and only 1 other passenger in said carriage and the whole train was about 3 carriages long and quite empty, I don't know if he was trying to be a bully boy or showing off in-front of his work colleague, but I shouldn't have experienced his wrath.

    To be honest, I did think can I be bothered to complain but the more I thought about his manner and action, it actually bothered me, and it in addition I am carer for my grandparents, so I do the same route all the time, and if I don't nip it in the bud, so to speak there is potential of it happening again.

    Thanks again.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Your welcome 

    Given the circumstances of the carriage bring empty I agree and would pursue it 

    He is possibly one of those jobs worth type but yes his behaviour needs to be brought to the companies attention 

    Let us know how you get on 
  • mebeing
    mebeing Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Afternoon Janer1967,

    Thanks for your reply, I have to be honest, I doubt I will get anywhere with this and after reading the email I received back after the train manager and the host gave there "feedback" of the event, as basically / in a roundabout way, I was called a liar (because they are denying that initially I didn't say I was disabled) and that I was aggressive, which I don't understand by remaining seated and only raising my voice (but the train manager can speak to me however he wants and be aggressive with me, but I suppose when you look into aggressive behaviour, raising your voice falls into that category, hence, why I said in the previous post, that I would type something on a A4 sheet and then I don't have to speak to anyone, as I don't want to be called aggressive when I am not and also I don't want to be made out to be a liar etc), to repeat the same thing several time, so I know I am on a losing thing, but wanted to reply back obviously I will give my truth to what they have written, but wanted a difference of opinion to the issue raised etc 

    And in relation to the hate crime, of course I doubt it will lead to a criminal offence but I feel its important that this gentleman's hostility and prejudice towards me, is recorded by the police

  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Just because the email defends the employees this will always be the case as the company will be trying to avoid admitting liability in case of further action 

    They have obviously investigated the incident but if you are not satisfied with the outcome then take to next level. 

    Ask in your email back who you can progress this with 

    Or do a Google search for the CEO or maybe contact the transport police to report it rather than normal police 
  • mebeing
    mebeing Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Afternoon Janer1967, 

    All noted with thanks, I do want some resolve, but really, all I want is to sit in the seat and not have repercussion like this incident, but that is something I will mention in my reply email, how to go forward with this and not to experience this again etc.

    Thanks again have a great evening, 
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 10,458 Disability Gamechanger
    If this had happened to me I would be concentrating on how to avoid it happening again and perhaps that could be achieved by speaking to the operator when you book your seat? 
    Seasons greetings to one and all 🎄🎅🏻🌲
  • mebeing
    mebeing Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Good Afternoon Woodbine, 

    Firstly thanks for your reply, currently in that carriage you cannot book a priority seat, when I make a reservation (even calling it cannot be done, the wheelchair space can be, but currently not priority seats) I request near the luggage rack and it allocates a window seat which I know has a priority seat next to it, as I tend to travel at quieter times, I am either alone or maybe 1 other person in the whole carriage, but even if i could have reserved a priority seat, this incident would of happened as the train manager didn’t want me sitting in a priority seat (all are aisle) he wanted me in a window seat, and even though I told him as previously posted it fell on deaf ears, but I have to say since March 2020 I must of done at least 40+ trips on the same route and this was the 1st time I have been asked to move in such a manner, maybe twice prior, I have by different staff but when I have explained as previously mentioned, it was end of story, so to speak, but this particular gentleman was different and also I don’t know what other different train managers will react like etc, hence trying to get a resolve. 

    Thanks again 


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