Disabled man’s Bexhill to Hastings train journey took three hours

A disabled man has called on railway station staff to improve their communication after it took him three hours to complete a journey from Bexhill to Hastings.

Robert Tweedle has called on Southeastern to improve their communication to avoid inconvenience on his train journey
Robert Tweedle has called on Southeastern to improve their communication to avoid inconvenience on his train journey

Robert Tweedle, who uses a mobility scooter, boarded a train at Bexhill on Saturday as he headed to Hastings to volunteer at the Hastings Contemporary.

He was helped on and off the train by platform staff but, once off the train at Hastings, was informed the station lift was broken.

Mr Tweedle said he was told to wait for the next train to Ore where a taxi would be waiting to drive him back to Hastings.

However, when Mr Tweedle got to Ore there was no taxi. After calling a number of taxi companies he decided to make his own way to Hastings Contemporary.

He said: “I looked it up on my phone and saw it was about a mile away so I made my own way there on the buggy.

“The problem was, I didn’t know where any of the drop down curbs were or which roads I could take my buggy down.

“Whenever I volunteer at the Hastings Contemporary I usually arrive early and have a cup of coffee but on Saturday I arrived dead on 2pm – when my shift starts.

“It took me three hours to complete my journey.”

Mr Tweedle said, while still not ideal, his journey time could have been cut down if he was told about the broken lift.

He said he would just stay on the train to Ore, rather than get off at Hastings and wait for another train.

He added: “It shows that there has been a breakdown in communication.

“The platform staff at Bexhill communicate with the staff at Hastings because they need to get me off the train. They should be communicating about the lift.”

Southeastern apologised to Mr Tweedle for the extra inconvenience to his journey.

A spokesman added: “Unfortunately there are occasions when the lifts aren’t working as they should and we report any issues to fix them as soon as we’re aware of them.

“We’ve reminded our colleagues of the need to phone ahead or send a message to other stations, regardless of the train company that runs that station, when it’s clear that someone requires additional assistance as part of their journey.”

Mr Tweedle said this was not the first time he had been let down by train staff.

He said he was once forgotten about when trying to get off the train at Hastings and ended up at the siding in Ore.

On that occasion, he was found by cleaners who had to alert train staff to get him off the train.

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