Failed Passenger Assist Case Study

The Complaint

The consumer had booked Passenger Assistance for her journey with her husband. Upon arriving at her destination station, staff helped her off the train with the ramp. However, when she got to the lift, she found that it was out of order. As the Consumer uses a wheelchair, she had to shuffle up the stairs, her elderly husband had to carry her wheelchair. Furthermore, her elderly brother, who uses two walking sticks had to pull himself up the stairs by using the handrail.

The consumer told us that she used the help point however, nobody had answered.

The Response

The RSP confirmed that the lift at the station in question is out of service daily between 19:20 and 06:20 but the Passenger Assist Team should have been aware of this when they helped her off the train.

Prior to the consumer raising a case with the Rail Ombudsman, the RSP had offered her Rail vouchers and issued an apology.

What the Ombudsman did

We spoke to the RSP, who then put forward a revised offer for an increased amount of compensation, payable via a medium of her choice. They also arranged for a member of the Customer Relations team to make contact with the consumer over the phone to discuss her concerns further and, if necessary, look into the options for someone to meet her in person at the station. In addition, the RSP provided a formal letter of apology for the poor experience that she has had.

The consumer accepted the RSP’s revised offers and the case was closed at Mediation. The consumer has since been in contact and confirmed that she has had a call with the RSP and found this very useful.

Note on the case: Where the consumer raises a case with the Ombudsman this is often as an alternative to going to court and therefore the remedies can be different to those that a consumer may receive in a court. In this case, the consumer was satisfied with the offers made at mediation and the case was closed with no expense to the consumer and in a potentially less daunting forum than a court. Our approachable, legally qualified Ombudsman team will speak to both parties and determine the issues in order to bring the parties back together in mutual agreement, where possible.

Feedback to the RSP

The Rail Ombudsman provided feedback to the RSP regarding the incident and their initial response to it. The RSP was keen to provide evidence that this was a “one-off” incident and appreciated the impact it had on the consumer, confirming they had put measures in place to prevent any future occurrence. The RSP was also keen to send an apologetic gesture to recognise the poor service that the consumer had experienced that day.

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