Thursday, 8 January 2009

It's the small things part the second

For about a year now my local train company have been doing this thing where they take a random sample of booked assistance and ring afterwards to see how it went and if you have any comments.  And as a regular traveler I've had many of those calls.

When you book they have this huge spiel they have to go through about how you need to "arrive at the station at X time for the train at Y and make yourself known to a member of station staff" etc etc.  And every single time they ask the type of assistance and when you say "ramps and a wheelchair space" they ask the type of wheelchair, the size and confirm that it's not a scooter.   oh and have you travelled before?

Plus they don't hold personal details which means I have to give my name, my phone number and all of that information fresh everytime.

Some weeks I travel multiple times... it gets old.  

I've gotten into the habit of answering the question "what assistance do you need?" with "ramps and a wheelchair space, it's a standard size  powerchair not a scooter and I've travelledwith it loads."  Some of the staff on the assistance line respond to that with comments like "I thought I recognised your name." or a laughing "you've done this before." and they skip parts of their spiel or just do it quickly with "know you know this but have to tell you..."

Others get a bit shirty and insist on asking each question again even though I've answered the question on the grounds that they "have to ask it."  Which I understand but they need to understand that I do this soooo often and it's a frustration that I could do without.

So every time I get a call back I comment on the journey and I always say it would be so much easier for me if they would just give me some kind of customer reference number to quote and hold my details.

I got a call back today and after I commented on the journey she told me they have a new system and are now holding regular customers details.  Finally.

 She explained how it works - she had details of all the journeys I've done recently and the assistance I need and she checked all my details.  Now I just call and tell them my name and when and where and unless I need anything different (like help carrying luggage if I go away for example or help to get a taxi) that's it.

I know it's stupid.  But this is going to make travelling so much easier for me... because making the arrangements SHOULD now be a quick thing as opposed to 10 minutes of crap I've heard thousands of times before and having to give them all my personal details yet again.

Or at least, here's hoping.


Sarai said...

Hey! I found your blog on the NaBloPoMo January 2009 Blogroll.

I just wanted to say that nothing that makes life easier for someone with even more challenges than usual is a small thing. I'm deaf and need to wear two hearing aids. I have spent countless hours researching and testing alarm clocks for the deaf to find the one I have now, to make sure it would actually wake me up in the morning! It seems like a small thing to be in charge of your own waking up - but believe me - after years of having to rely on someone else to come wake you up, it's incredible to be able to do it on your own!

I'm amazed it took so long to get a system in place so you didn't have to go through that hoop-jump every time, but also, not surprised at all. My idea of a perfect world is when special needs are just needs... because there really are enough of us out there. :-)

Love your blog!

Cheryl said...

Not stupid, Emma. Not stupid AT ALL. My paratransit saves my info, but speaking of small things, you usually have to wait on hold a MINIMUM of 15mins before anyone gets to you. I only have a cell up @ school, and it eats up all my mins. Once it was 40mins. And if they are late and you have to call from whatever other location you are at, you HAVE to use your cell. Couldn't they afford to hire more dispatch. Not only that, but I could go on and on about the other ways in which dispatch is incompetent...

More thoughts on “Small things” – Writings of a WheelchairPrincess said...

[...] Follow up to my earlier blog posts It’s The Small Things and It’s The Small Things [Part The Second] [...]

rickismom said...

yes, even the little things are important, because they add up.....
Glad they pulled their act together


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