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To think the London Underground staff who use 'elf and safety as an excuse not to help people with buggies at stations without lifts are basically being bone idle

(189 Posts)
quesadilla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:12:16

Tried to get into central London yesterday alone with dd in buggy. At two separate stations without lifts I asked for help and was told they couldn't because of health and safety or insurance. (And i have heard this several times before.) Given that only about 10 per cent of tube stations have lifts I think refusing to help in any way is lame and amounts to discrimination, albeit of a passive and unintentional kind. I know that sounds a bit hysterical but the practical outcome of this situation is that if your child needs to be in a buggy and if you don't have anyone with you to help you you cannot travel on the underground...

BrokenSunglasses Mon 09-Sep-13 10:17:45


If they dropped the buggy, or accidentally hurt you, your child, another passenger, or themselves while carrying your buggy, they would be up shit creek without a paddle if you or another passenger tried to sue.

It's not a risk I'd take tbh, and nor would I be selfish enough to ask anyone else to put themselves at risk. If you've been given the answer once, I don't know why you'd keep asking and making them say no.

Presumably you know that you are better off asking another member of the public for help?

MsUumellmahaye Mon 09-Sep-13 10:18:41

i cried in the subway once because they sat and watched me struggle with toddler and getting baby out of buggy and folding it then needed to put it back up to get to second set of stairs, at this point they came out to give me in trouble in case i kept the buggy up going down stairs, thus i cried like eejit smile

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Mon 09-Sep-13 10:18:44

I think YABU. maybe they're not allowed because if they god forbid, dropped the buggy or something and your child or you was hurt they might be held accountable?

Maybe as hundreds of thousands of people use the underground every single day and even if only say 10% needed help with buggies/luggage/whatever all the staff would end up with very bad back aches from all the helping. You help one, you help them all. That said, the times I saw someone struggle with a buggy or whatever on the underground or anywhere else I've helped them. And other people have helped me. No station staff ever have though but that's up to them.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 09-Sep-13 10:19:50

And just because you work in a railway station, you are physically fit, able to lift, don't have a bad back or a frozen shoulder or whatever...

Plus the fact that if they have been told by their employer NOT to do it, they might get sacked....

If you need to get around, then you need to make sure you can manage - not rely on the possible goodwill of strangers.... sometimes people will help, sometimes not... if only 10% have lifts, and you are choosing to travel that way, then you must take the responsibility....

JaneFonda Mon 09-Sep-13 10:21:21


If you have a buggy that you can't lift by yourself, either travel with someone who can help you, or take the bus.

It's not their problem.

MurderOfGoths Mon 09-Sep-13 10:24:13

Sorry, but YABU, though understandably. The problem isn't the staff, it's the those in charge haven't improved accessibility.

ShakeAndVac Mon 09-Sep-13 10:24:57


If you have a buggy that you can't lift by yourself, either travel with someone who can help you, or take the bus.

It's not their problem.

Charming. hmm So if you've got a heavy buggy you should just stay at home then?!
It's not their problem is a depressing atttude to have.."Keep on walking by, it's nowt to do with me."
The suing for falling down culture has a LOT to answer for if this is the outcome where people are scared to help in case they tripped or broke something.

Rufus43 Mon 09-Sep-13 10:25:53


But it is a complete pita to get up and down stairs with a buggy and children. I have carried buggies when my children were little up and down stairs and escalators and I ALWAYS offer to help if I see someone about to climb up or down

aftermay Mon 09-Sep-13 10:27:31

Ask someone else to help. They'd be up and down the stairs all day helping out with buggies and heavy shopping.

SoupDragon Mon 09-Sep-13 10:28:36


I think that people who take a buggy on the tube which they can't get up escalators by themselves are short sighted.

I've always done it, with not help, with a sling and an easy fold buggy. Buggy for above ground, sling for underground. Which disproves your statement the practical outcome of this situation is that if your child needs to be in a buggy and if you don't have anyone with you to help you you cannot travel on the underground...

MurderOfGoths Mon 09-Sep-13 10:29:26

"The suing for falling down culture has a LOT to answer for if this is the outcome where people are scared to help in case they tripped or broke something."

Tbf, rules like this are to protect the staff too. Rather than having to risk injury by doing something they haven't been trained to do safely.

Florin Mon 09-Sep-13 10:29:30

I went to London zoo with a friend both of us had buggies and not walking babies so difficult. The tube staff were really helpful and offered to help. They said if we carried the babies they would take empty pushchair on the escalator for us. Tube worker took mine down first then went back for my friend. I was so grateful and would have been a long walk otherwise with 2 very tired babies!

SoupDragon Mon 09-Sep-13 10:30:24

So if you've got a heavy buggy you should just stay at home then?!

No, you find a different way to travel. You shouldn't expect others to bail you out when your choice of buggy doesn't pan out.

burberryqueen Mon 09-Sep-13 10:31:16

YABVU London Underground staff are not your personal porters and yes it is to do with 'elf and safety' as if they dropped your buggy and hurt your baby what then?
or if one of them damaged their back?
if you are not strong enough to lift your baby in a buggy then don't use the tube.
besides Joe Public is always v obliging.
does anyone really still use the word 'lame' in this context?

Viking1 Mon 09-Sep-13 10:31:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Potol Mon 09-Sep-13 10:31:59

It is a PITA but hundreds of Londoners manage with kids and buggies and little or no help. Use the TFL website to plan routes, or use buses etc. Or alter plans slightly. I have once taken baby down the stairs, left him at the bottom, climbed back up twenty stairs and brough the buggy down. Empty station in SE London so no one to help. I was keen to visit a friend with a new baby so it was my problem to figure out the route.

It takes longer but carrying my child up and down stairs is not the responsibility of TFL staff. If other passengers help I am grateful and I always help others but again, it's not London Underground staff's job to help you. If they did that is all they'd be doing all day. And I have to say I have found people very kind about helping me on and off trains with my buggy. So sadly YABU.

Scholes34 Mon 09-Sep-13 10:32:38

I frequently carried a stroller with a 12 to 18 month old up and down the underground stairs when pregnant with DS1. At the time it was about £50 for a cheap, light stroller - no doubt they're cheaper now. Other members of the public usually help, but I could certainly manage without their help and doubt I would have tried if I couldn't.

SilverApples Mon 09-Sep-13 10:34:23

As a teacher, I'm now not allowed to do a lot of things at work that I would happily do otherwise, and if I break the rules, I'd be reprimanded.
If the staff have a PITA supervisor, that could be an issue.
They could also have back problems, or be bone-idle.
I've always found members of the public very helpful, especially on the Tube.

Famzilla Mon 09-Sep-13 10:34:40

I took a pram on public transport once. Struggled with so many stairs I bought an ergo on my way home and have never looked back.

I reccomend a sling if you're going to be using public transport regularly. YABU to expect staff to help every woman with a buggy, they wouldn't get anything else done, it would be a massive strain on their backs and the compensation culture we live in makes people very afraid to help anyone with anything these days.

BrokenSunglasses Mon 09-Sep-13 10:35:31

I've always found other passengers to be very helpful on the underground too. I never used the tube that often when I had pushchairs, but when I did, not once did I have to ask for help, it was always offered. My friend who now has babies and lives in London is finding the same thing. She said she was expecting it to be a nightmare, but has been very pleasantly surprised.

Seaweedy Mon 09-Sep-13 10:36:23

YABU. Yes, it is maddening that most the stations are not accessible, but you are responsible for being able to get yourself and your child around. It is not station staff's responsibility. I say that as someone who used to live in London with a newborn who used public transport all the time. I used buses for preference, and used a sling on the tube, very occasionally my lightish Bugaboo Bee. Other tube users are almost always very helpful.

Potol Mon 09-Sep-13 10:37:33

I can't carry the stroller with a child because I am tiny and if i do lift it i cant see the stairs, but I used to fold the buggy,and put it under one arm, child under the other, changing bag across body and go up or down. I still do this sometimes. And I am small and light and my toddler isn't. It isn't ideal, but to me that's part of city life.

wannaBe Mon 09-Sep-13 10:38:12

you have only one buggy. millions of passengers travel on the underground every day. if only 1% of those have buggies that's still a lot of lifting for one person.

If you need to travel on the underground then get a buggy you can personally manage - they do exist.

I travel on the underground regularly with a guide dog who is not escalator trained. I wouldn't dream of expecting members of rail staff to carry him on and off of the escalators (although they will sometimes stop escalators). Believe me at 70 lb plus carrying him on and off is no mean feat but if I wish to travel then it is my responsibility.

SilverApples Mon 09-Sep-13 10:38:13

grin Worst place for helpful people I found was Greater Manchester. Friendly bloody Northerners my arse. I used to heave a sigh of relief at Euston as I trotted towards the underground with a small child, a buggy and a week's worth of luggage

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