Southern Rail is blaming strike action for a lady in a wheelchair almost being left behind at Pevensey and Westham Railway Station at the weekend.
The driver of the new driver-only operation took it upon himself to get her on board, as there was no on-board supervisor on the service on Saturday night (7 January).
A spokesperson for Southern said, “Due to disruption on the network caused by ongoing industrial action, the On-Board Supervisor rostered to this route was unable to join the train at the appointed station. A passenger in a wheelchair required assistance boarding the train at Pevensey and Westham, and there was a delay while the driver provided the necessary assistance.
"We are committed to supporting passengers in need of assistance make their journey, and to ensuring our routes are as accessible as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience caused to both the lady requiring assistance and the other passengers by this delay and regret that the second member of staff was not on board. However, it is worth noting that had the second member of staff been unable to join the train on a route that was not DOO (where the driver is in sole operation of the train), the service would have been cancelled completely.”
The RMT Union yesterday (11 January) told Eastbourne Buzz this is the kind of situation they feared would happen with the introduction of driver-only trains and say this is one of the reasons they have been fighting against it being rolled out across the Southern network.
Southern are yet to comment on the situation at Hampden Park station, which saw another wheelchair user left behind – you can see their story here.