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Safe train travel for immunosuppressed people

mPj
mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
Hi so I've had some really horrible and stressful experiences travelling. As somebody who is immunocompromised and immunosuppressed it has been almost impossible to travel by train. I don't have another option to travel other than a train. There is no provision for immunosuppressed people to travel. There is no legal provision to provide safe travel for someone with my disabilities. Its discriminatory and I was hoping someone else knew a way I could ensure safe travel?
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Comments

  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 4,890

    Scope community team

    Hello @mPj

    Welcome to the community, thank you for joining us. 

    Sorry to hear of the difficulties you have experienced when travelling by train, I am not sure what part of the country you live in but have you contacted your areas' train operator to see if there's anything they can advise? 

    Furthermore, do you have an idea of what sort of help, provisions and support you would want to see ideally?
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  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Hi,

    I am in the north of England and Scotland. I have contacted all the training providers and I've made a complaint because I've been told that there is nothing they can do to support my safe travel.

    The provision I require is a guaranteed socially distance seat, in line with government and NHS guidance for somebody with my immunosuppressed conditions
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,431 Disability Gamechanger
    Having only recently returned to train travel I can fully understand the concern. U didn't make it to my intended train as the bus journey was so appalling I had to get off early. The train I then opted for took 3x longer; was 2 carriages and standing room only. Zero masks visible. Bearing that in mind the guard advised that the next train to my destination was 14 minutes later and would be 6 carriages long. That was also concerningly full but I got on and it was fine. 

    There is obviously a problem here but not necessarily discrimination. You would not have been offered a guaranteed socially distanced seat pre-pandemic and that seems less likely now. It could not really be described as a reasonable adjustment as it's simply impractical. You are effectively asking to be on a train and roped off. That clearly isn't going to happen and it wouldn't be practical for a guard to police it if it did. Having alerted a train company to the issue my guess is that their insurers would simply prevent you travelling at all. 

    Your choices seem to me to be confined to looking at alternative travel; possibly door to door travel depending on distance or travelling and off peak periods having done your research on what that means in practice on a specific journey.   
  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    I wouldn't have asked for a socially distance seat pre-pandemic. I dont see and justification for this not being discrimination? I am immunosuppressed due to my disabilities, I have been told the vaccine may not be as effective for me, I have been categorically told to social distance. I of course wear a mask, gloves, sanitiser and I am double vaccinated. I have shielded for over a year and am now physically left behind. I cannot afford door to door travel. I am already traveling on off peak times and this is still happening. I have done my research and this is still my experience.

    How is refusing to provide safe travel for vulnerable people in a pandemic not discrimination? All I want is an assured socially distant seat.

    It's not impracticable its unsafe and dangerous this puts my life in danger and jeopardises my mental health. I have abided my every restriction and cosnsitantly shielded and now I cant even use public services.
  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    I'm just asking to sit in a 2 seat without someone sat next to me not to be roped off.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,431 Disability Gamechanger
    But the only way to enforce it would be to roped off else what would be the point.

    In order to give you what you want they have to physically restrain other passengers and restrict sales for the area around you. They can’t possibly do the first and they sure as hell aren’t going to do the second. 

    The other point here would be that proximity to another person is not the sole consideration for someone immune-suppressed. Air circulation is as important if not more so. That will vary from train to train and with the numbers and location of fellow travellers as well as their preferences for window opening etc. Frankly, you are asking for something which, as stated previously, is simply not going to happen. There is no way a rail company could comply and they would refuse using one of the legitimate grounds for refusal under EA 10. Indeed in this case I think it’s foreseeable they would have multiple grounds for refusal. Expense and proportionality spring to mind but also the fact that you’re proposed adjustment wouldn’t achieve your aim anyway. 

    For reasons I won’t be going into publicly I have had years of experience with immuno-suppression and your proposal simply won’t fly. Bottom line is that you probably aren’t going to be on a train until you’re ready to do so. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,694 Disability Gamechanger
    If it was possible to action your request how would you manage while waiting for the train or getting on and off the train? what about the seat dirrectly in front and behind you?  There's even less chance of being able to socially distance yourself with those situations.
    I know you may not like this but i think your only options are to either find alternative travel or don't go.
  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    They can do it! They did it in the hight of the pandemic! A carriage with reduced capacity is possible, we’ve seen it. 

    They have signs to respect social distancing all over but they don’t provide a service that allows it.

    There is no alternative transport for me otherwise I would have done that before getting so upset. 
  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Just one train a day at reduced capacity or provide 2 carriages with reduced capacity per train, I’m not asking for something that’s never happened before
  • Teddybear12
    Teddybear12 Member Posts: 752 Pioneering
    Hi @mPj At the height of the pandemic more people were working from home I assume you were one of them and less people were travelling. Surely it would need to be two trains a day to get to your destination and return. Unfortunately it is not  going to happen as the country is trying to return to normal as far as we can. The train companies have lost a lot of money during the pandemic and will need as full a capacity as is possible going forward. . 
  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    I am still working from home, as the vaccine isn’t going to be as effective for me. 

    My mums not well and I don’t drive and she’s about 150 miles away so train is the only option, I just didn’t want to have panic attacks on them anymore as I’ve consistently experienced this because of the lack of masks and ability to social distance.
  • vikingqueen
    vikingqueen Member Posts: 548 Pioneering
             I'm immunosuppressed and got the government e-mail the other day. Without typing a long winded statement it basically says I am now on my own but use common sense when going out!! We have been thrown to the wolves and no more help is going to be available. The rail networks are back to normal so wont give people that had to shield a 2nd thought.  :|
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,694 Disability Gamechanger
    I have a friend that lives close to me and she’s also immunosuppressed. She’s also shielded since the start of the pandemic up until a couple of months ago.
    She came to see me last for the first time since before the pandemic and she told me that she’s terrified of going out but realises that as the country returns to normal she has no choice but to start living her life but just be extra careful. Continue to wear a face covering, washing hands regularly or using hand sanitizer when she’s out.
    It may not seem much to you what you’re asking but realistically it’s just not possible. 
    You have to choose whether you go on the train and be extra careful by taking your own sanitiser with you and maybe some wipes so you can wipe down the seats before sitting, continue wearing your face covering and do what you can. Or don’t go. 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,431 Disability Gamechanger
    Let’s pick this apart.
    mPj said:
    They can do it! They did it in the hight of the pandemic! A carriage with reduced capacity is possible, we’ve seen it. 

    They have signs to respect social distancing all over but they don’t provide a service that allows it.
    At the height of the pandemic between approximately 10% and 25% of trains were running. Occupancy of those trains ran at about 15%. So yes they were able to introduce and enforce social distancing because there was next to no-one using trains; it was thus easy to enforce with 85% of passengers missing and if they hasn’t done so that 15% would have been closer to 5. It is not possible to do any of that practically or physically now that occupancy is running at around 85%. It is also not possible now because government removed the power to enforce social distancing.

    In any event, when they ask people to respect social distancing they are largely talking about door areas and standing not seating. That is clearly and very logically no longer possible. I agree there is some hypocrisy involved here because I have already seen standing room only trains but given pandemic losses that’s understandable and you completely miss the point that the government had removed the power to enforce social distancing. The train companies can do no more than ask nicely. Expecting them to effectively turn over a carriage to you is simply unrealistic. 
    mPj said:
    Just one train a day at reduced capacity or provide 2 carriages with reduced capacity per train, I’m not asking for something that’s never happened before
    Yes you are. What you are asking for only happened for specific reasons and cannot be artificially created. Your one train a day would be logistically impossible. It would have to be one train on every possible route in the UK. The losses would be huge and require every train franchise in the UK to co-operate. There is nothing which compels them to do so.

    Same again though. They could sell less tickets but they can’t insist on seat reservations with each booking, because they have to legally allow for walk up sales - people who spontaneously need to travel on the day - but even then, if someone spotted friends close to you and chose to move closer to you to sit with them away from their reserved seats you have no means to stop that and now nor do the train company. 

    Then what happens with someone with a different health condition but the same need as you and they need to travel at a different time of day to you, perhaps to make a connection for example? There is no aspect of this grounded in any kind of practical, rational reality. Imagine what happens if your journey involved a connection. Both trains do as you suggest but your train is late and you miss your socially distanced connection. If your only choice is the next train and it’s full. Then what? 
    mPj said:
    I am still working from home, as the vaccine isn’t going to be as effective for me. 

    My mums not well and I don’t drive and she’s about 150 miles away so train is the only option, I just didn’t want to have panic attacks on them anymore as I’ve consistently experienced this because of the lack of masks and ability to social distance.
    You have said earlier on that the advice you received was that the vaccine may be less effective for you. Now you are saying it isn’t. There is a world of difference between those two words. Similarly you claim that this alleged failure of the train companies puts your life in danger and yet you also say you’re travelling off peak. I understand that anxiety doesn’t fit with being logical but there are inconsistencies in your concerns and approach and that’s very much reflected in the solution you propose. 

    I’m sure you’ll find lots of people who sympathise with your level of anxiety - after last weekend, season tickets or not, I won’t be going to watch football on public transport this season. I will only go if I can have a lift. I doubt you will find a single person who think your solution either reasonable or likely. 

    Ultimately those are your choices. Go or don’t. For all the reasons listed in this and earlier posts you have no claim to a reasonable adjustment here and need to make that decision. Go, or don’t. 
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,979 Disability Gamechanger
             I'm immunosuppressed and got the government e-mail the other day. Without typing a long winded statement it basically says I am now on my own but use common sense when going out!! 
    I think that’s a very good summary!
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    Let’s pick this apart.
    mPj said:
    They can do it! They did it in the hight of the pandemic! A carriage with reduced capacity is possible, we’ve seen it. 

    They have signs to respect social distancing all over but they don’t provide a service that allows it.
    At the height of the pandemic between approximately 10% and 25% of trains were running. Occupancy of those trains ran at about 15%. So yes they were able to introduce and enforce social distancing because there was next to no-one using trains; it was thus easy to enforce with 85% of passengers missing and if they hasn’t done so that 15% would have been closer to 5. It is not possible to do any of that practically or physically now that occupancy is running at around 85%. It is also not possible now because government removed the power to enforce social distancing.

    In any event, when they ask people to respect social distancing they are largely talking about door areas and standing not seating. That is clearly and very logically no longer possible. I agree there is some hypocrisy involved here because I have already seen standing room only trains but given pandemic losses that’s understandable and you completely miss the point that the government had removed the power to enforce social distancing. The train companies can do no more than ask nicely. Expecting them to effectively turn over a carriage to you is simply unrealistic. 
    mPj said:
    Just one train a day at reduced capacity or provide 2 carriages with reduced capacity per train, I’m not asking for something that’s never happened before
    Yes you are. What you are asking for only happened for specific reasons and cannot be artificially created. Your one train a day would be logistically impossible. It would have to be one train on every possible route in the UK. The losses would be huge and require every train franchise in the UK to co-operate. There is nothing which compels them to do so.

    Same again though. They could sell less tickets but they can’t insist on seat reservations with each booking, because they have to legally allow for walk up sales - people who spontaneously need to travel on the day - but even then, if someone spotted friends close to you and chose to move closer to you to sit with them away from their reserved seats you have no means to stop that and now nor do the train company. 

    Then what happens with someone with a different health condition but the same need as you and they need to travel at a different time of day to you, perhaps to make a connection for example? There is no aspect of this grounded in any kind of practical, rational reality. Imagine what happens if your journey involved a connection. Both trains do as you suggest but your train is late and you miss your socially distanced connection. If your only choice is the next train and it’s full. Then what? 
    mPj said:
    I am still working from home, as the vaccine isn’t going to be as effective for me. 

    My mums not well and I don’t drive and she’s about 150 miles away so train is the only option, I just didn’t want to have panic attacks on them anymore as I’ve consistently experienced this because of the lack of masks and ability to social distance.
    You have said earlier on that the advice you received was that the vaccine may be less effective for you. Now you are saying it isn’t. There is a world of difference between those two words. Similarly you claim that this alleged failure of the train companies puts your life in danger and yet you also say you’re travelling off peak. I understand that anxiety doesn’t fit with being logical but there are inconsistencies in your concerns and approach and that’s very much reflected in the solution you propose. 

    I’m sure you’ll find lots of people who sympathise with your level of anxiety - after last weekend, season tickets or not, I won’t be going to watch football on public transport this season. I will only go if I can have a lift. I doubt you will find a single person who think your solution either reasonable or likely. 

    Ultimately those are your choices. Go or don’t. For all the reasons listed in this and earlier posts you have no claim to a reasonable adjustment here and need to make that decision. Go, or don’t. 
    Right I was just asking for some advice, your tone is very attacking and not appreciated at all, I came to this forum for advice and support not to be attacked,
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,694 Disability Gamechanger
    No one is attacking you. Advice has been given several times. Your only options are either go or don’t. There’s no other advice to give you. 
  • mPj
    mPj Member Posts: 11 Listener
    I was specifically walking about the user I quoted. Picking apart my language is unnecessary and hurtful.
     
    It’s not good enough to just roll over and exclude people who are immunosuppressed from society. Not even to attempt to help them. It’s not just for me, it’s for every vulnerable person who who doesn’t have the privilege to use private transport. 

    I can’t just take a possible life ending risk so go or not go isn’t a sensible answer. 

    A bit of empathy wouldn’t go a miss.
  • Teddybear12
    Teddybear12 Member Posts: 752 Pioneering
    @mPj Could you perhaps go and stay at your mum's until she is feeling better and then Zoom and phone her. Then you would only need to go once and return once. Unfortunately what you are asking for is not going to happen as already stated. I hope you can find your own solution.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,979 Disability Gamechanger
    mPj said:
    It’s not good enough to just roll over and exclude people who are immunosuppressed from society. Not even to attempt to help them. 
    That may be true but nonetheless it is the situation we are now in.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,431 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 1
    ImPj said:
    Right I was just asking for some advice, your tone is very attacking and not appreciated at all, I came to this forum for advice and support not to be attacked,
    I remain to be convinced that anyone needed my entire post quoting in order to post 3 lines but whatever. 

    To be honest my tone has been moderated hugely. If you must know then my initial reaction to your original post was that no-one in their right mind could actually seriously believe that was an option. Even that is a toned down summary. I never post based on my first reaction though. On reflection I felt it better to explain in detail why your suggestion could never qualify as a reasonable adjustment. I think my response has been measured and detailed. Others before and after me have been far more succinct. I hope it sinks in that not one of us supports your suggestion and that the reasoning for that is clear headed, rational and detailed. 

    If you actually came here for support and advice then it’s been given. I’m sorry if you don’t like it. As ever, the fact someone doesn’t like the advice usually translates into a personal attack at some point but it never makes the advice any less true. Feel free to throw away some amount of money by going to a solicitor trying to pursue the utterly futile. It’s always possible to find someone sufficiently unscrupulous to take your money and screw you over. 

    Alternatively you could post the issue on other forums or write some more letters of complaint. I’m sure you’ll eventually find some random who also thinks this is a goer but so what. It is so plainly a non-starter that it’s hard to know what else to say. You do what you feel you need to but sometimes the advice you don’t like is the only advice you should be listening to. 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,431 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 1
    mPj said:
    I was specifically walking about the user I quoted. Picking apart my language is unnecessary and hurtful.
     
    It’s not good enough to just roll over and exclude people who are immunosuppressed from society. Not even to attempt to help them. It’s not just for me, it’s for every vulnerable person who who doesn’t have the privilege to use private transport. 

    I can’t just take a possible life ending risk so go or not go isn’t a sensible answer. 

    A bit of empathy wouldn’t go a miss.
    I think you’ll find I picked apart none of your “language”. What I picked apart was the reasoning. As regards empathy I mikehughescq said:
    Having only recently returned to train travel I can fully understand the concern. I didn't make it to my intended train as the bus journey was so appalling I had to get off early. The train I then opted for took 3x longer; was 2 carriages and standing room only. Zero masks visible. Bearing that in mind the guard advised that the next train to my destination was 14 minutes later and would be 6 carriages long. That was also concerningly full but I got on and it was fine. 
    For reasons I won’t be going into publicly I have had years of experience with immuno-suppression and your proposal simply won’t fly. Bottom line is that you probably aren’t going to be on a train until you’re ready to do so. 
    Yeah, zero empathy. 

    Always funny when people take offence how conveniently whole paragraphs get forgotten. 

    No-one here is against you or lacking in empathy but your suggestion is a non-starter and anyone who tells you different will find out just like you that nothing os going to change the truth of it being a non-starter.

    Afraid my empathy is now as an end.

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