Busy, Busy, Busy


Richmond – Willesden Junction – Euston – Return

Another evening of intellectually stimulating entertainment at the BBC, so set off on the London Overground as usual. The first leg to Willesden was easy enough, indeed it might be called boring. However, when it came to departing Willesden things got a little frantic for the poor customer services assistant. Who had another passenger to get off the train I was getting on to. Whilst this didn’t cause me any issues it did delay the train a little bit, or at least so I thought. When we arrived at Euston there was no sign of any assistance which meant, as so often happens, which meant my travel partner went off to find somebody. After about ten minutes her return with the driver coincided with the arrival of the Customer Services Assistant who had been litter picking the train. They were both highly apologetic and of course, (all together now) “Nobody told me” (ker-ching).

The rest of the evening was delightful, and the return journey passed without incident. However, I decided that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and that this too would be raised as a complaint with London Overground. I’ll let you know how it goes.


I’ve received the following response to my complaint, there’s nothing in the e-mail that says it’s confidential so I’ll let you read it for yourself. All personal details have been removed to protect the innocent, guilty, and anyone else who accidentally touched it.


(…) we have successfully assisted over four thousand mobility impaired passengers since the start of 2014 of which over 99% went without incident. We have also recently rolled out across our network the ‘Turn up and Go’ service which means that disabled people needing assistance can simply arrive at stations and have staff help them without being asked to book in advance.

I have checked our records to see what went wrong on 9 July. I can confirm that the message was received by our Customer Control at 1748 that there was a mobility impaired passenger on train 2N96 from Richmond requiring assistance at Willesden interchanging for London Euston on train 2C40. Station staff was advised accordingly but due to the delay, there was a breakdown of communication at Euston.

There was a delay departing Willesden Junction as another mobility impaired customer requiring assistance was alighting around the same time you required assistance boarding. The other customer was in the rear coach while you were located at the middle coach. Unfortunately there was a breakdown in communication at Euston which led to your assistance being delayed.

Clearly by your email we still have some way to go in improving this service. Rest assured we will always do our utmost to facilitate the journeys of disabled passengers who require assistance. However by reporting our failures you will bring to our attention the issues you may encounter and help us take the steps to ensure that they do not occur again.


I’ll leave you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusions.

About Alan

I'm an Economist, Geek, Campaigner & wheelchair user who's been using all forms of public transport for 20+ years.
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2 Responses to Busy, Busy, Busy

  1. graham burton says:

    well if they know they had to users on the train with mobility issues why not have to customer support assistance one for the other users to come off and the other to be able to assit you being boarded this will save the train leaving late as well.
    is that not common sense.

    • Alan says:

      Sadly common sense is not the over riding motivation here, neither is customer service. Cost cutting and reduced staff overheads seem to be a higher priority.

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