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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. :-(

megsmouse Fri 19-Jul-13 22:21:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jkklpu Fri 19-Jul-13 22:24:37

Doesn't feel very nice. However, someone else already asked why you didn't bump it up and I don't think you replied. I used to go all over London on public transport with 2ds + pram + bags but I always knew I could be self-sufficient at steps for those times when no one helps (the interchanges inside London Bridge station were always dreadful).

CitizenOscar Fri 19-Jul-13 22:35:34

No maja. And if I injured myself or my baby because the lift was out of order, and noone provided any assistance, I wouldn't expect them to cover my costs either. If I help someone with their shopping and hurt myself, I wouldn't expect them to compensate me. As I say, it was reasonable for them to expect people to struggle with out of order lift (planned maintenance) so could have provided extra staff for the purpose of helping people who'd expected to use the station's facilities. Staff who were capable of helping. IMO. As I say, I usually make sure I am self-sufficient on public transport, I always check routes and facilities but sometimes get let down. I don't think it's unreasonable for people to help each other out in a sticky situation.

Quangle Fri 19-Jul-13 22:37:40

Amazing how tube staff (and BA stewardesses who wouldn't help my 75yo, 5ft2 mum put her carry-on bag in the overhead locker for that matter...) "aren't insured". Nor are normal people but they still step up to help when there's no way around it. And no they wouldn't be doing it all the time - most mums with prams manage on their own and there are usually loads of other passengers around who are willing to help. I've never needed to ask tube staff because nice people have stepped up to help me if I've needed it.

As someone said upthread, why does it all come down to H&S and insurance. What about being a nice, normal person?

Although agree that bumping is usually highly doable.

MrsOakenshield Fri 19-Jul-13 22:39:46

unless you yourself have a bad back, if you can't carry your one-year-old in the pram, that suggests you have a whopper of a pram that people may baulk at helping with - I do have a bad back and have never helped anyone with one of those huge 3-wheelers, because it would do my back in. Sorry. If you're planning on travelling on the tube regularly, I would suggest you get a lighter pram.

renlo Fri 19-Jul-13 22:44:50

My husband used to be a station supervisor at a central London station. I have just asked him LU's policy is on this he says that that station staff are not covered by TFL if they CHOOSE to help someone with a buggy or luggage and they injure themselves. However, they were not explicitly prohibited from doing so. In the case of a baby in the buggy, staff are advised to ask for the child to be removed from the buggy before they offered any assistance as if the child fell out then tfl could be found liable. It was completely up to a staff member's judgement whether they chose to help or not. The conditions of carriage on any tfl mode of travel is to take what you can expect to carry on your own, and to not expect to be helped.

In your case, the staff were perhaps a bit rude but the were perfectly within their rights to refuse. For what it's worth, my husband says most of his staff would help, but some customers had a bit of an 'entitiled' attitude and demanded assistance. Those were the ones that were met with a blunt 'no' (not implying that was what you did in anyway btw).

maja00 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:45:52

Citizen - if the staff have been specifically told they aren't authorised or insured to do heavy lifting, then why should they risk themselves and their job?

PenelopeChipShop Fri 19-Jul-13 22:50:44


I take all your points and absolutely won't make the same mistake again. But I think some of you are wilfully missing mine! I was caught out in a situation I go out of my way to avoid and just wanted one good turn, that's all! I certainly didn't feel or act entitled. Just feel disappointed. But I won't be complaing to tfl.

Are Maclarens really thatlught then? No one tells you this when you're pregnant and cluelessly pram shopping! I was convinced I needed a travel system but can no longer remember why!

HollaAtMeBaby Fri 19-Jul-13 22:51:02

YABU. There are very few prams that won't fit in a black cab, maybe try that next time.

SofiaAmes Fri 19-Jul-13 22:54:07

I have found Londoners to be the most rude and unhelpful people when needed assistance with a pram etc. on the tube. In contrast, in New York City I never ever even had to ask, or wait for help. And in Rome, I even had a bus driver, totally of his own accord, get out of the bus and help lift the stroller into the bus.
It used to make me so made when the stupid mayor Red Ken, would go on and on and on about taking public transport instead of driving. He clearly never had to manage children and/or shopping on his own. (In fact I seem to remember he had the highest taxi bill of any of the mayors to date....not exactly "public transport" if the public can't afford it).

ComposHat Fri 19-Jul-13 23:00:30

Get a smaller pushchair. if you must buy something yhe same weight and dize as a sherman tank then don't be surprised whrn people aren't busting a gut to lug it around for you.

I've worked in places where people have asked me to vsrey their massive buggies up three flights of steps. I've said no as I'm not going to bugger up my back and risk being off work without sick pay due to their buggy fetishism.

VinegarDrinker Fri 19-Jul-13 23:14:55

Yes, I could easily carry the Maclaren with 15kg 2yr old DS in it when I was heavily pregnant and did so up & down the steps at Manor House tube while tons of people ignored me

Mind you I can carry our "travel system" buggy (Chicco Trio) with him in it fine, too.

Which brings me back to my question upthread - what monster buggy do you have?!

megsmouse Fri 19-Jul-13 23:18:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 19-Jul-13 23:24:38

I've never had this problem, the tube / railway staff have always helped with buggies, old ladies with suitcases etc that I have seen. Usually they ask the parent to carry the child and they carry the buggy - presumably because if they drop the buggy it's not a big a problem as dropping the baby...

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 19-Jul-13 23:27:37

Ah, as Renlo had already said...

VeryDullNameChange Fri 19-Jul-13 23:36:35

Oi, Sofia! Don't knock Ken Livingstone!

I remember what London public transport was like before he was elected mayor, and the buses didn't take unfolded buggies at all and only came every half hour if you were lucky. Ken introduced frequent buses that you could take the pushchair onto (outside of rush hour) which meant that you could had an accessible means of public transport. Absolute godsend.

WhatWouldBeyonceDo Fri 19-Jul-13 23:37:07

I used to work on a LU station, I was 12 weeks pregnant, lady asked me to carry her pram. I refused. She had a melt down, Stamping her feet etc but It's wasn't her business why I wouldn't do it. Our jobs were not to carry people's things.

But for the record renlo is spot on.

Why would anyone risk their job to carry your pram? If you can't carry it yourself, don't travel with it.

mrsballack Fri 19-Jul-13 23:37:33

Exactly what renlo said. When I worked on the station I would carry a pushchair if the parent took the child out. A lot of people would refuse to take them out and so I would not be able to help.

It states in the conditions of carriage that you are only permitted to carry luggage you are capable of carrying yourself. If you cannot manage it without help you shouldnt be bringing it.

hurricanewyn Fri 19-Jul-13 23:42:34

The Maclaren is very lightweight (about 8lbs) & great if you need to fold it one handed while toddler wrangling too.

Rulesgirl Fri 19-Jul-13 23:47:40

Blame the people who go for big payouts when they have the slightest injury. If someone helps you and they damage you or your property, how do they know you wont sue them or the company? They don't. This is why most people in working environments have to say "no" to helping the public nowdays. In shops if there is no public loo the shop assistant is not allowed to let you use any other toilet due to insurance. And strictly speaking, restaurants and supermarkets are not allowed to warm babies bottles incase the baby gets burned or the mother claims the baby is burnt. This is unfortunately what the world has come to.

Shakey1500 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:50:31

As an ex underground worker I echo renlo

Also, it's staggering the amount of times staff are asked to help lift/carry prams/pushchairs/luggage. I simply couldn't risk damaging someone's child, pushchair or my back.

notsochic Fri 19-Jul-13 23:57:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FullOfChoc Fri 19-Jul-13 23:58:16

I'm not a londoner but on a visit I once offered to help a lady with a baby in a pushchair and a toddler up the stairs in the tube station and she looked at me like I was trying to kidnap her DC. I am too scared to offer again.

BreadNameBread Sat 20-Jul-13 00:00:21

I would not have asked for help. I always used an umbrella stroller so I was self sufficient.
I always had offers of help though in London. I always carried the baby and, if someone was vey happy to help, then I might have got them to carry the stroller. and thank them a lot

Theironfistofarkus Sat 20-Jul-13 00:07:43

A few months ago I was on the tube with my small pull along bag and as i was walking towards the barrier (quite a long walk from the entrance to the station) i did something to my back such that the pain was excruciating. I somehow made it to the barrier at a snail's pace but by the time I had got through it I was not sure I could carry on walking with the bag either down to the platform or back up some stairs to the exit. i am an extremely proud person and detest asking for help but was not sure I could carry on so I explained the situation to a female member of staff and asked if someone could help me pull the bag. The answer was no. I was in so much pain I could have cried and nearly did. Insurance or no insurance, I can't understand a rule that could allow that to happen. It's just wrong.

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