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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. :-(

MrsOakenshield Sat 20-Jul-13 17:54:27

oh, and I'm a born and bred Londoner and have helped many people with their prams (though, as I said earlier, not the really heavy P&T ones due to bad back).

MrsOakenshield Sat 20-Jul-13 17:53:10

sigh. Not all Bugaboos are massive, and not all Bugaboo owners are entitled. I had a Bee, and used it on London transport (buses, tubes and trains) every week for 2 years, about every fortnight for a year after that. I chose it because it's very narrow, and it has an adjustable handle which can be shoved right in so people don't bang into it. Although I couldn't carry DD in it (bad back) I could bump it down the many many stairs (3 flights) at my home station. However (unlike the person who said how crap Londoners were at this) I had many many offers of help over the years. As soon as DD could manage the stairs on her own I would take her out and carry the pram.

Though thinking about it, I don't think I ever had help from any LU staff.

Annakin31 Sat 20-Jul-13 16:54:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Theironfistofarkus Sat 20-Jul-13 16:17:50

Just to clarify:

1. Anyone who helps someone but then eg drops a buggy is liable to be sued whether it is part of your job or not

2. If you drop someone or something as part of your job eg working for tfl then tfl could be sued as well as you.

3. Tfl apparently claim they are not insured if you do drop a thing or person so it will cost them money if an employee does it. So they encourage their staff not to help.

4. If you hurt yourself while doing your job then you can usually sue your employer but may be more difficult if you have disobeyed company policy to do it.

5. If an employee did injure themselves lifting a pram to help someone the pr consequences of them refusing to pay sick pay etc are such that as soon as the employee made the slightest fuss they would back down and pay it if they were eg tfl.

6. Lack of insurance is very unlikely to be a problem for the helping individual assuming they only help from time to time and their job doesn't suffer unduly. They would just be in the same position as a member of the public helping.

7. The refusal to allow staff to help is a benefit only to the company.

8. How sad that "insurance" considerations stop people helping each other. I don't care if I might get sued. I will continue to carry buggies etc and feel really sad that companies encourage others to do something different.

crashdoll Sat 20-Jul-13 16:05:06

"They have to help disabled passengers and I don't see how a baby (who can't walk and needs a pram) is much different to that."


nicelyneurotic Sat 20-Jul-13 16:00:12

Hi, TfL have loads on accessibility on their website - I think those staff members would be in big trouble if you complained!

They have to help disabled passengers and I don't see how a baby (who can't walk and needs a pram) is much different to that.

Sorry you experienced this. Surprised fellow passengers didn't help you?

dreamingbohemian Sat 20-Jul-13 14:16:04

HoldMe Yes I said so earlier, was wondering if anyone would agree with me smile

Sorry but I don't really buy the 'how could I anticipate this happening' line -- you live in London, you take public transport, surely it's not that hard to anticipate you won't always have lifts available. Very few stations even have lifts, and lifts break down all the damn time, even stations close completely sometimes.

Nanny0gg Sat 20-Jul-13 12:58:14

God forbid the OP should have requested help for a one-off journey. I suppose she should have gone out and bought a lightweight stroller specially for that purpose.

It's a bloody miserable world now, isn't it?

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sat 20-Jul-13 12:23:28

I think the "big strong man" line would have made me a bit eyeroll-y, to be honest.

maja00 Sat 20-Jul-13 10:48:47

OP, an Oyster isn't that big, you could have bumped it up the stairs. It's not that hard, practice at home.

Otherwise just get a cheap supermarket umbrella stroller.

It's not that ridiculous to expect people to be self-sufficient while using public transport. Get something that folds and then you can use it on buses easily too.

Lj8893 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:57:54

Sorry I didn't see that post. But yes if its not policy to not help for h&s reasons then yeah it's shit and selfish not helping if you are free to do so.

PlatinumStart Sat 20-Jul-13 09:47:35

LJ but someone TFL related just posted to say that helping was a matter of discretion....implying there isn't a policy prohibiting it. Which means staff are choosing not to help. Which is a bit shit.

Phineyj Sat 20-Jul-13 09:23:40

I always try to travel via the Thameslink stations as a lot of them have lifts now, or use stations with flat access like Victoria. Or I walk most of the journey. One time I had a particularly difficult transfer I folded the pram wheels and held them in one hand and carried DD in her car seat in the other. It's not a great idea to travel with more than you can lift - goes for luggage as well. People are normally pretty helpful though.

Lj8893 Sat 20-Jul-13 09:13:12

Mojito, that is what I was saying, you just worded it much better!

But yes if a company's Heath and safety and risk assessments state not to lift anything, help people up and down stairs etc etc and then an employee did, then they would have a hard time suing the company as an employee.

MojitoMagnet Sat 20-Jul-13 09:06:25

Sorry to post 3 times in a row but I'm confused - apologies, it's all too early in the morning.

It's the post of 08:45:32 that I thought wasn't correct If I helped someone up or down the stairs in my job and damaged my back, or fell down the stairs etc etc i could not claim any sort of insurance from the company I work for, and if I couldn't work for a time afterwards then tough! - I'm sure that's not true...

After I posted mine of 09:00:04 I saw yours of 08:59:43 which seemed to be arguing the opposite so I thought I must have been incorrect about who posted what.

Apologies for the confusion. As you were. Off for a shower and some caffeine now.

Trapper Sat 20-Jul-13 09:06:06

LJ8893, they can sue you as a customer/passenger/passerby - you still have a legal duty of care.
I suspect the greater risk to the organisation in question is not being sued by the person being helped, rather the employee for any kind of injury and/or resultant time of work. By training staff not to help in these circumstances, they are reducing the risk of the employee having a case against the company in the event of an incident.

MojitoMagnet Sat 20-Jul-13 09:00:38

oops lj apologies I misread who typed the wrong thing

MojitoMagnet Sat 20-Jul-13 09:00:04

Lj you are wrong - if you have an injury while on your employers premises, and you are complying with your employers Health and Safety policies at the time, then you are able to sue your employer for compensation for the injury, lost earnings etc.

The same injury while not at work, you can only sue someone if you can show negligence on the part of a third party.

That's why most employers have a H&S policy which boils down, basically, to "do not take any risk doing something which common-sense shows could lead to injury, without doing a full risk assessment and getting it signed off by someone appropriatly senior". It's a complete no-brainer that TFL employees H&S policy should tell them not to do heavy lifting like this.

Lj8893 Sat 20-Jul-13 08:59:43

Yes but a random stranger who has no connection to the establishment you are in, is less likely to be sued for any damage. An employee of that establishment causing damage is completely liable to be sued.

I am not saying everyone is going to sue but unfortunately there are many that will.

So yes as a random person I will always help people if I am able to, but as an employee I am always much more careful.

But again, the tube staff were still very rude and could have quite easily apologised and given an explanation why.

massagegirl Sat 20-Jul-13 08:55:24

Very well put platinum

MojitoMagnet Sat 20-Jul-13 08:55:09

I''m a non-Londoner who has been on the tube with a DC in a pushchair a about a dozen times a year when visiting London (sometimes with a suitcase in tow too)

I think YABU

* you can do most journeys in London with a couple of bus rides and a modest amount of walking, so it's easy enough to avoid the tube if you can't manage. if you can't even begin to attempt the stairs on your own, use the bus. is your friend - just untick the "tube" tickbox and it will tell you the easiest way to get from any A to any B - even changing busses isn't that much hassle - OK you occassionally have to wait for the next one if there isn't a buggy space but that's not the end of the world, and they are much easier with a buggy than stairs.

* there is an obvious and huge difference between a member of TFL staff, during their working time, stopping what they are doing to help with heavy lifting. The legal implications are huge. It is quite right they should be advised not to (but they should have been polite about it)

* If you start gingerly edging your pushchair up/down steps slowly, soon enough a kind passer-by will help. As they aren't doing it in the capacity of their employment there's less opportunity for suing! I only recall one occasion when I got an entire length of a staircase on my own without a kind stranger helping, out of dozens of times when I was helped.

PlatinumStart Sat 20-Jul-13 08:51:48

LJ8893 the vast majority of people don't have insurance of going about their day to day existence but that doesn't stop them being kind decent people.

If I, or the countless strangers I have witnessed helping people with luggage/shopping/clearing snow/changing tyres/carrying buggies hurt themselves then they wouldn't be able to claim insurance and would have to suff the consequences of their injuries, likewise if they damaged property or injured someone they could put themselves at risk of being sued. Fortunately most people are not risk obsessed and selfish and do what they can to help as the need arises.

MrsFruitcake Sat 20-Jul-13 08:45:39

I've only ever had to use the tube with a stroller once and it was awful. I did what others suggest and loitered making feeble attempts to get it up the steps on my own, until a rather nice chap in a suit came to my aid. We caused a huge backlog of people behind us (it was rush hour) but hey ho, life goes on.

The next time, I used a sling (DS was about 14 months by then) and had him tied to my hip, and used my umbrella stroller which was so much easier IMO.

There is never an excuse for rudeness though, and on that point, I would complain I think.

Lj8893 Sat 20-Jul-13 08:45:32

platinum the insurance reason is not an excuse and certainly doesn't make someone a lazy selfish ass!!!

If I helped someone up or down the stairs in my job and damaged my back, or fell down the stairs etc etc i could not claim any sort of insurance from the company I work for, and if I couldn't work for a time afterwards then tough!

If I damaged thier property, or child, or whatever it was I was helping them carry, they could certainly sue myself or/and the company I work for. If I did that in a place where I am just another customer/passenger/passerby, then they can't sue me.

This doesn't mean I don't help everyone that asks for it in my workplace, I use my initiative but the insurance/health&safety reason is a valid reason and does not make me lazy and selfish Thankyou very much.

eccentrica Sat 20-Jul-13 08:30:24

*three close in age kids!

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