Brockley Gate

Do not underestimate the determination of an angry man.

Chris, who complained about the gate on Platform 2 of Brockley Station being locked after 9pm, has been taking the issue up with TfL, using the original BC discussion of this issue as ammunition.

So far, he's been told that:

London Overground are committed to providing step free access from Platform 2 at all times. Once the ticket gates are closed at 9pm it is possible to contact a member of staff using the help point system. The member of staff will then make their way to open the gate for customers who require a step free route. The station manager is going to review the signage on the station to make sure that it is easy to use this system.

In return, Chris has pointed out that station staff have told him that they are under orders not to open the gate after 9pm and that because the oyster readers are switched off, even if you persuade them to let you through the gate, you have to walk up the stairs to the ticket office to use the readers there.

Chris' fight continues, but if it's bothering you too, please register your complaint here - he'll be sending the link to TfL.

25 comments:

Katy said...

Thanks very much for your efforts on this, Chris. I strongly suspect that many people who struggle with stairs won't want to "bother" the station staff (we are British, after all...!), and will put themselves out rather than use the helppoint. We need to make things easier - or what's the point of step-free access!

Leila said...

I also complained at the same time as Chris and have not had a response.


I complained again on Tuesday as on Monday morning the office was shut and only one machine was taking Oyster cards, leading to long queues in the rain.

Concerned mum said...

It is really important to comply with both the law and the spirit of disability discrimination. Step free access is one way to help towards that.

Monkeyboy said...

not sure why the oyster readers are turned off?

BloodThirstyJon said...

The staffs at Brockley are just lazy.

Headhunter said...

Exactly, they never used to be and in any case if you have a travel pass you don't need them anyway

Robert said...

I would have a tad more sympathy for their harsh stance on gate opening times if in return, there was a London bound train available at around 8.30 every morning that I could actually get on to without having to pummel the breath out of my fellow passenger.

They will not pay for staff on gates, and neither will they trust customers to swipe oyster cards without it. Rather mean I think.

Headhunter said...

The not paying is not an issue since after 10.30/11pm the gates in central London are all open and the gates up the stairs at Brockley are also wide open, so if you're a fare dodger you can still do it... You just have to go up the stairs...

DavidDoyle said...

TFL's stance does not seem compliant with the Equality Act. Any disabled passengers using Brockley station should write to TFL requesting that staff make "reasonable adjustment" for disabled passengers. As a public body, TFL would then have 28 days to respond – either setting out what adjustment it will make or justifying how the current situation is reasonable. If it fails to do so a complaint could be filed with the county court. Personally, I would advise anyone affected to speak to their relevant disabled charity and ask them to write to TFL advising them of the situation and warning them of their legal duties, or speak to their local councillor or MP. As a first step you could contact the Equality Advisory Support Service for further guidance on your rights under the legislation.

Anon said...

I am extremely appalled by this too. It is a discrimination against disabled people and the elderly! I will definitely be writing to my local Brockley councillor/MP. The more people raising this the better.

Chris said...

Not so angry Chris
All well tonight; oyster reader working; man descends on request to open gate; all go home happy; well done TFL

Ben said...

It is not just a disability thing (although that is a very important angle). Surely the reason the gates on that side were introduced is because it makes no sense for a whole trainload of people to ascend the steps up a narrow staircase only to have to descend again at the other side. Why does this logic cease to apply at night?

As for staffing, if they can spare a member of staff to descend and open the gate whenever required, surely there must be more than one of them, so why can't that member permanently man the oyster gates? They can communicate via walkie talkie.

Finally, if the gates simply cannot be manned, why not leave the oyster gates operational anyway - prevent opportunistic (but not determined) fare-dodging - and any customers with issues that require staff can use the help point (or if able, ascend the stairs)?

I'm just struggling to see the logical argument for TfL's stance other than the laziness of station staff.

Ben

Headhunter said...

I agree re train reliability too. In the 7 years I have lived in Brockley I've mostly cycled but for the past couple of months I've been on the train and without fail, the 7.26 and the 7.32 trains are either delayed or completely cancelled... Every. Single. Day.

Michael said...

Further to the reply to Chris, me and others, London Overground say:


"The safety of our customers is our top priority and revenue protection is an important tool. We believe there is a strong link between fare evasion and anti social behaviour. To maintain this safe environment we made the decision to ensure that all customers have their tickets checked beyond 9pm."



Yet, I came back on the last train out of London Bridge the other night and found the lower level gate wide open and the Oyster readers working, as they had before. Policy change, or inconsistency?

Headhunter said...

That's a ridiculous response. In my experience (as I mentioned below), ticket gates at all main central London stations are left open from about 10.30pm and the same at Brockley and no one every checks tickets, either as you pass through the gates or on the train itself so locking the side gates makes no difference, it just means the fare dodgers have to climb the stairs with everyone else...

LAR said...

I agree with you on this, I am sure there are a lot of people (hip or back problem, pregnant and been on feet all day, elderly but not disabled) who struggle with stairs but would be embarassed or feel 'it's not enough of a problem' to 'disturb' people by pressing the help button. Twice recently I've walked up the stairs at Brockley after 9pm next to people (happened to be middle-aged women in both instances) who have struggled painfully and quietly up the stairs and then gone through without mentioning anything to staff. Hardly anti-social behaviour or fare evasion...

Carys said...

Thank you for your efforts on this, Chris. I'm a disability adviser by profession, and am confident that the refusal to open the step-free gate is in breach of the Equality Act, like others in this thread have said. This bit of the Act stands out: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/19 - as I have said elsewhere, preventing step-free access to disabled people is clearly not a proportionate means of revenue protection.


Last time I came home late in the evening, I pressed the buzzer to be let through. I waited five minutes for a member of staff to come to the gate, who then proceeded to ask me why I needed to be let through. He looked me up and down, as if to say "You're not in a wheelchair, so why can't you use the stairs?" As I explained to him, a disabled person should not have to 'out' themselves or explain their disability in order to be let through. It took more than five minutes of persuading him (yes, I actually timed it) before he would open the gate, during which time I was stood in the dark in the rain.


I would like to add for clarity that I am not actually disabled - it is really a point of principle for me, as someone with a personal and professional interest in disability, to challenge this kind of discrimination.


I have contacted London Overground about this and will do so every time I am prevented from using the step-free access.

Chris said...

Thanks Carys. I am a cyclist and am not disabled. But the arguments are similar, although much stronger for the latter due to the legislation. I am in ongoing contact with TFL on this, so we shall see.

Ruth _ said...

to add to the list of reasons...rheumatoid arthritis, sprained ankles, vertigo, I am amazed that this has to such a fight...

kate said...

Hi, Happy New Year to you all - except the vile, ghastly, socially inept 'man' (certainly not a gentleman) who was on duty at Brockley station tonight (1/1/14) at 9.15pm, who essentially took the mickey out of me and my husband just for requesting the gate to be opened because we had 2 huge suitcases. I went to the speaker system to kindly ask and he pretended that he didn't know what gate we were talking about - he even pretended that he wasn't at Brockley station and couldn't help! We told him the gate on platform 2 and he shouted at us and told us he wouldn't open it and we had to use the stairs. I protested and tried to explain why we needed the gate open and he promptly cut us off.- he would not listen to anything I tried to say and cut any sentence up. I rang and rang the buzzer again, in a rage by this point, I even tried to lob my suitcase over the gate in the red mist! So, after probably seeing me do that on CCTV, he then decided to grace us with his presence... Like his manner on the speaker, in person, he had no ability to talk normally without aggression and when I said what happens if you are disabled? He shouted back 'well ring and make arrangements in advance if you have problems innit?!"...he seemed to compromise by offering to help with one suitcase up the stairs but by that point I was questioning his inability to just speak normally and be polite and calm? I was told previously that staff were not allowed to carry bags because of health and safety rules, so I questioned if that was true because he offered to help carry a bag? With this, he spun on his heel, gestured at us to get lost and stormed off. So, my husband kindly carried my suitcase and his up the stairs and proceeded through their barrier upstairs. Clearly, being a lady, who doesn't let this kind of sloppy service pass me by, I asked for his name and full identity to make a formal complaint. He refused to give me his full name and the only name he gave me was 'Angus' which I really don't believe is true. He just stood there the whole time with a smirk, loving winding us up. He got off on this. I can't believe, he is even employed. He had malice in what he was doing. He revelled in doing this to us. What a complete utter nasty piece of work. The system is ridiculous and completely unfair to all able bodied and obviously disabled people e.g. with heavy items, pushchairs, disabilities - visible and invisible. He just thought we looked able to get up the stairs and that was that. The man has no right to be serving the general public. He needs serious training in customer care and a dose of common sense. Above all, he owes us a personal apology (not some carbon copy template letter from TFL on his behalf), which he had no intention of giving.


Feel free to use my complaint to back up your own Chris. TFL should be ashamed and just because current public transport access (for all) legislation is in their favour, doesn't mean that they can sit back and do nothing constructive to help the very people that pay their wages. After all, this is just common decency we are asking for. That is all. It seems that at TFL, profit comes before common decency and proper staff selection, based on actual skills. I am seriously worried for our futures and how exactly can someone, with no communication skills at all, be employed in such a role? The mind boggles.

kate said...

Correction of fact to my previous entry - the member of Brockley Station 'staff' that we had the misfortune of meeting this fine evening, is actually (allegedly) called 'Hamish' (not Angus - I was angry...)- Happy New Year to you all and wishing you happy stress free journeys with TFL in 2014!

Maggie M said...

Can you describe what he looked like? Had some pretty shoddy service myself recently.

Chris said...

Kate - _ I have passed this on to London Overground. Incidentally the next day at 11.30 pm the gate was open and the readers on!

Headhunter said...

They were definitely closed and locked on Wed 1st Jan, evening at about 10pm...

Monkeyboy said...

If you want to give the TfL commisioner a pointed question, he's on Twitter now (8/Jan 09:30ish) #AskSirPeter

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