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Refused help with pram by tube station staff... Surely that is not right?!

(114 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Fri 19-Jul-13 19:33:01

I was travelling home today on the tube, a route I don't normally take due to the hassle but my car is in the garage. I had one-year-old ds with me in his pram. I needed to get up a flight of steps to the platform and I can't lift him and the pram, they're just too heavy together. I usually avoid having to be in this situation as its a hassle and its nobody else's responsibility to help me I suppose, but today I had no choice.

So I knocked on the door of the station office which I could see had a few men in high vis jackets (so presumably tube workers) milling around. The door was answered by a woman who flatly refused to help me up the steps. A first she just said 'I can't help you'. I thought fair enough, maybe she has a bad back or something, but when I asked in a friendly way if there was a strong man who might help me, looking towards all the guys at the back, she disappeared for a second then just came back, said no, looked very disapproving and shut the door on me! I thought this was really rude but was too shocked to do anything.

I know she probably has more important things to do but what world are we living in where tube staff can't take 2 mins out of their day to help a mum up some stairs?? The reason I was out was to do volunteer work in the local community,who says karma exists eh. :-(

PenelopeChipShop Fri 19-Jul-13 20:15:04

Haha should have known the mumsnet response would be harsh! Fair enough I suppose, I do appreciate she probably had a good reason but she certainly could have been nicer.

This just makes me think less of my fellow human beings tbh. I am honestly quite friendly and helpful to others and I just hoped for the same back. I used to help mums with prams all the time before I had ds! (Now he's always with me.) no one ever gave me a seat while pg either!!

NancyOsbourne Fri 19-Jul-13 20:15:47

I asked once and was told that it was because they are not covered in case the child falls out etc hmm

WafflyVersatile Fri 19-Jul-13 20:33:08

I'm surprised no passengers offered. I normally do if there isn't already someone helping. I'd have asked a passenger or stood at the bottom of the stair looking like I'm going to give it a go myself.

Polyethyl Fri 19-Jul-13 20:40:15

I feel sorry for the station staff. The requests to help lift prams, suitcases etc... are never ending.
There are no lifts out of Victoria underground and the staff there could easily spend their entire day carrying stuff up the stairs for customers who haven't checked the maps or their route beforehand to assess step free access.

maja00 Fri 19-Jul-13 20:42:56

How hard is it to just bump the pram up the steps though Penelope? Are you being a teeny tiny bit precious about this?

PenelopeChipShop Fri 19-Jul-13 20:43:20

OMG Arabella sorry to hear about your neice! I guess that is the illustration of why they don't help then.

I just think its a bit sad that's all. Whatever, it has certainly put me off ever using a tube station without a lift unless I can possibly avoid it. Which I couldn't today.

maja00 Fri 19-Jul-13 20:45:06

Or just be a bit sensible and use a sling or buggy you can manage yourself.

PenelopeChipShop Fri 19-Jul-13 20:49:42

Maja00 it is honestly too heavy to do that and the steps are too steep. I'm not being precious and I do think I am actually quite fit but I can't lift a strapping one year old and a stupid travel system pram, I would defy most women to tbh!

To reiterate as well I don't know this route as I usually drive to avoid exactly this situation. Hence why I'm so surprised. I generally avoid using public transport specifically because I don't want to ask for help but sometimes you HAVE TO. And it would be nice to think your fellow man would show a bit of politeness and / or decency rather than feeling like you're on your own. It's just another thing that makes me feel so invisible as a mum. Maybe it's my issue I guess :-(

Jan49 Fri 19-Jul-13 20:49:56

I would have asked another passenger. There's usually someone willing to help.

burberryqueen Fri 19-Jul-13 20:53:14

well i used to have to take a double buggy on the tube to get to Gt Ormond st and the general public were very kind and helpful, all i had to do was stand at the bottom of the stairs for a while with the buggy and invariably ssome strapping dad or kind woman would help. Quite understand why staff cannot help though.

maja00 Fri 19-Jul-13 20:55:16

It must be an absolute tank to not even be able to bump it up and down steps - I am not particularly big or strong and can manage fine with normal travel systems.

If it's that big and heavy then it's unreasonable to rely on other people to lift it too. Get an appropriate buggy.

dreamingbohemian Fri 19-Jul-13 20:55:51


It would never even occur to me to ask tube staff for help with a buggy. I mean, maybe if one of them were standing right at the stairs, I might chance it, but to actually interrupt them in the control room? No way.

Yes maybe she could have been nicer but perhaps she was disapproving because you were all oooh maybe a big strong man can help me, instead of taking the hint that what you were asking was inappropriate.

stickingattwo Fri 19-Jul-13 20:59:23

YABU - I wouldn't have asked at all, I can see why they might be miffed. However I have taken buggy on the tube ( reluctantly) and without fail - although i can just manage to carry or bump it myself - other passengers have always offered.

CaptainJamesTKirk Fri 19-Jul-13 21:02:41

My local train station has no lift and you have to cross a bridge to get to the platform (one of those 2 platform stations). When my DS was little I was pushing him in his pram/buggy and a nice man offered to help me... We were shouted at my a member of staff because arguing a pram/buggy is not safe and against health and safety policy for the station... She really laid into me and the kind man had to run to catch his train. The lady TIL me I had to get on a train on the platform I was on and go in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go for 3 stops until I reached a station with a lift and then could switch platforms and go in the direction I actually wanted to go.

I was livid... I picked up the buggy and carries it by myself whilst she continued to 'abuse' me.

bamboostalks Fri 19-Jul-13 21:03:17

I would just wait for a member of the public. Tube workers (not that they should carry prams) are very miserable and grumpy imo. Rude too.

Kiriwawa Fri 19-Jul-13 21:03:40

Was it a pram or a pushchair?

I've never had that experience - never even had to ask but tbh, nor would I, it's not their problem. Wear your baby in a sling or use a pushchair you can manage on your own.

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Jul-13 21:05:02

I want to know what monster of a buggy you have, now!

massagegirl Fri 19-Jul-13 21:29:15

Well aren't the ladies on here just delightful! I think it's really mean they refused to help you. Slings don't suit everyone and maybe you can't afford or do t have storage for a Maclaren. You said you normally get off at a more accessible station so that's good. I'm a Londoner and really remember lovely strangers helping my mum when my little brother was in a buggy as we would often be on the tube, this included station staff and they'd always be lovely and chat to us. Sad times that you were refused and that woman on here are so mean! Hope it hasn't put you off too much. I'm yet to brave the tube with my 7 week old but since I've been out and about with her people have been really sweet and helpful. Also my dad works for TFL and says its awful how rude they were and to complain!

Trapper Fri 19-Jul-13 21:41:11

I have a double Phil & Ted E2 for two toddlers who are less than a year apart. Chuck a couple of bags into the mix and I'm not sure I could manage the stairs at some of the underground stations. Not sure I would bump it down many either as they are often long and steep. For what its worth I have always found members of the public very helpful especially if I block the stairway on the underground. Staff are usually pretty helpful (in so much as they are allowed to be) - the only trouble I have really had has been at Bank station at the weekends when they often decide they can't be bothered to operate the lift to provide step free access to the surface from the DLR.
The reason I post is that I wanted to plug the tfl journey planner site - it has a good route planner that you can configure to avoid stairs. Don't let one bad experience put you off travelling through London on public transport.

Floppityflop Fri 19-Jul-13 21:44:35

I occasionally have to lift heavy loads as part of my job. Believe me, if I thought I wasn't going to get sick pay or my employer's insurance didn't cover me to do something and there was a risk of me injuring myself I simply wouldn't do it. Especially if it were then to become expected that I might do it regularly as a result of my "kindness". It is simply an employee protection / liability issue. You probably are better off asking the public because they won't be able to sue anyone (well, unlikely to be able to).

CitizenOscar Fri 19-Jul-13 21:47:19

I had a similar experience and it made me sad too. My local station has lifts but they were out of order, which I didn't know til I got there. I usually use a sling on public transport but I knew there were lifts/step-free access at the stations I was planning to use so brought the pram (young baby, under 3 months).

So there I was unexpectedly stuck without a lift, and loads of staff standing at the top of the stairs. I politely asked if anyone could help me down the stairs but they said no. They told me to take the working lift to the opposite platform and take a train in the wrong direction to a station with a lift - adding half an hour at least to my journey.

No members of the public helped either so I started bumping the pram down the steps, at which point a random woman had a go at me, suggesting I used the lift!

I do understand that tube (or train) staff can't help in standard situations (and I'd never normally ask) but given that they knew people would be caught out by non-working lifts, I don't think it'd have been unreasonable to provide some extra help.

Anyway, slight hijack, but just to say it's not always as simple as "don't take something you can't handle". I've also been caught out by tubes changing destination without notice from a station with a lift, to one without. I felt a right fool having to ask for help.

maja00 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:49:23

So Citizen, if one of those staff helped you the pram and injured their back doing so, would you have covered any costs they incurred?

Turniptwirl Fri 19-Jul-13 21:52:19

Yabu to expect them to help but they abu to be so rude. I expect there was a valid reason but they could have explained this and apologised instead of being rude. Hope you found someone to help you

Melfish Fri 19-Jul-13 21:54:49

Just get the bus, a bit slow but more scenic. In central London with a pram I just walked rather than get the tube. Less hassle and less hot!
I would not have expected or asked staff to help. Travelling with anything more than a lightweight buggy on the tube is just too awkward, i speak as someone who had to carry my buggy with DD in it up and down our station footbridge every day. Stations these days sadly do not have porters, who my Granny assures me, used to help with heavy bags etc.

MummytoMog Fri 19-Jul-13 22:19:35

Get a nice connecta - I still cart my very nearly four year old on my back in mine and it's so much easier than trying to carry her in a pram!

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